The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) is seriously concerned for the safety of a Darfurian student who has been detained incommunicado and without charge for two weeks by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Khartoum.
No reasons were given for his arrest in December and he has been denied access to his family and/ or lawyer. The authorities must immediately take measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the Darfurian student and order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international standards.
On 24 December 2017 at 1 pm, Mr. Mahmoud Hussain Omer, a law student at the Al-Nilien University in Khartoum from Kabkabia, North Darfur state, was arrested by members of NISS at the gate of the University. Mahmoud Hussain was severely beaten by the members of NISS during his arrest.
ACJPS is deeply concerned for the safety of Mahmoud Hussain who has now been detained incommunicado without charge and without access to his family or lawyer for two weeks and whose whereabouts remain unknown.
The lack of access to lawyers and family members of the detainees, together with the well-documented use by the NISS of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, particularly whilst held in unknown locations, gives rise to serious concerns for their safety. Incommunicado detention significantly enhances vulnerability to being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
In another incident, ACJPS was informed that on 22 August 2017, members of NISS arrested Mr. Nasreldin Mukhtar Mohamed, the former chairperson of the Darfur Students Association of the Holy Koran University in Omdurman. He was arrested at the gate of the university and then taken to the security detention centre in Khartoum North where he was held incommunicado for about a month. The authorities have only allowed two visits from his family since his arrest on 22 August 2017. The first visit was in October 2017.
During the last family visit on Friday 8 December 2017, his family noticed that Nasreldin Mukhtar had lost sight in his left eye and sustained severe injuries on his legs as a result of beatings by members of NISS.
Neither Mahmoud Hussain nor Nasreldin Mukhtar has been charged with a crime.
The National Security Act of 2010 (NSA 2010) grants the NISS wide powers of arrest and allows detention for up to four and a half months without judicial review, well in excess of international standards. The NSA 2010 also permits incommunicado detention without prompt and unequivocal access to a lawyer of one’s choice or the right to medical care. Sudan’s laws fail to provide adequate safeguards, permit arbitrary detention, and create an enabling environment for the perpetration of torture.
The authorities must guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees and order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards or, if such charges exist, to bring them before an impartial, independent, and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times. The authorities must also guarantee both detainees access to medical assistance required to ensure their physical and psychological well-being.
Although the formal charges are not known, the detentions are thought to have been made in connection with their involvement in the Darfur Students Association. Over the years, Darfuri students in universities across Sudan have encountered hostility from the Sudanese authorities. ACJPS has documented several cases of excessive use of force by security forces, arbitrary arrests and detention as well as torture and ill-treatment. The Government of Sudan has traditionally been hostile to Darfuri student associations organising at universities. They have been prevented, on occasion violently, for speaking out about issues related to fee waivers, expulsion of fellow students, among others.
On 18 May 2017, the NISS and a pro-government student militia raided a public forum at Wad Nobawe hostel which was organised to discuss the expulsion of seven Darfuri students from Al Azahri University after they participated in demonstrations on 15 May 2017 calling for the administration to adhere to the fee exemption provided for under the 2006 Doha Peace Agreement. The forces used tear gas to disperse the crowd and the students were beaten with sticks. At least ten students sustained injuries and were transferred to the hospital for treatment. Seven students were arrested and are detained incommunicado in an unknown location.
This incident occurred only four days after ACJPS document a similar incident in which twenty students were arrested after the NISS and pro-government student militia forcibly dispersed a public forum held on the campus on 15 May 2017.
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*African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)