Sudan: Rights groups decry Khartoum crackdown

Reading time 3 min.

Khartoum: Human rights organizations have accused Sudan authorities of extra-judicial executions and ill-treatment of detainees following the rebel attack on the capital

Several human rights organizations have accused Sudan authorities of arbitrary arrests, extra-judicial executions, and ill-treatment of detainees following the 10 May rebel attack on Sudan’s capital.

In separate statements released since the attack, human rights watchdogs accused the Sudanese government of ethnic profiling during the arrests that followed the withdrawal of rebel forces.

A government officials denied the allegations, and described them as “hasty.”

On 10 May, the Darfur-based rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked Omdurman, a city within the northern region of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, arriving just kilometres from army headquarters and the presidential residence before being repelled by Sudanese armed forces.

The attack was the first time rebel forces had penetrated the capital of Sudan. Over 200 people were reported to have died in the fighting.

The Darfur Center for Human Rights and Development, a UK-based organization, reported in a May 21 press release that over 3000 people have since been detained. The arrests have taken place in house-to-house searches or at checkpoints that were established immediately following the attacks.

Amnesty International reported on 21 May that these arrests have largely been targeted at Darfuris, particularly of the Zaghawa ethnic tribe, of which both the leader of JEM, Khalil Ibrahim, and the Chadian president Idriss Deby, who has been accused by Sudan of supporting the rebels, belong.

Amnesty also reported eyewitness accounts of the physical abuse of detainees and the death of a 31-year old man in custody.

Human Rights Watch, in a statement released on 12 May, stated that at least two people were summarily executed in the streets of Omdurman, including one woman who was shot in the face as she protested to police against the arrest of her brother.

Aegis Trust, in a press statement on 13 May, reported eyewitness accounts of this execution, and other killings by Sudanese security forces in the course of arrests at an Ombdurman home.

Ali Al-Sadiq, a spokesperson for the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dismissed the allegations of abuse and ethnic profiling as untrue. “If anyone is detained they will be dealt with by the Ministry of Justice, he will face the law,” Ali told IRIN in a telephone interview on 26 May. “It is not the policy of the government to target members of the Zaghawa tribe,” he said. “These reports were prepared very hastily.”

Sudanese police and security services continue their search for members of the Justice and Equality Movement, though it has been reported that most have returned to JEM-held territory in Darfur.

On 22 May, the official Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reported the arrest of Abdul Aziz Nour Ushar, described as a JEM field commander and the half-brother of JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim. Aziz is currently being held in Khartoum and under interrogation, according to SUNA.

The government has also offered a US $250,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim.

In a statement released to SUNA, the Ministry of Justice said it would be trying the accused through the Attorney General’s Office for Combating Terrorism. Government sources told SUNA that the accused will be provided with sufficient legal guarantees for their defense.

According to Article 31 of the Sudanese National Security Forces Act, individuals can be detained up to nine months without access to judicial review. IRIN

Sudan  Read latest news and features from Sudan : business, politics, culture, life & style, entertainment and sports
Support Follow Afrik-News on Google News