(1 December 2016) At least 17 members of the political opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) are currently detained without charge and access to their families and lawyers at National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) offices near Shande Bus Station in Khartoum. The detained SCP members were all arrested from 4 – 9 November 2016 from Khartoum, following public calls by the party for peaceful demonstrations against the Government of Sudan’s plan to implement austerity measures. Two individuals, Awad Alsiad Abdelgaioum, (m), and Omer Yousef Eldeegir, (m), were allowed to receive visits from their families on 17 November 2016. Eight SCP members were arrested between 4 – 8 November and were released shortly after. Their names are on file with ACJPS.
The names of the SCP members currently detained incommunicado are below.
- Khalid Omer Yousef, (m), Vice President of SCP. Mr. Yousef was arrested on 4 November from his home in Aljerif neighbourhood, Khartoum at 4pm.
- Abdulla Shams Al-Koun Adam, (m), Deputy Media Secretary. Mr. Adam was arrested on 4 November at 7pm from an unknown location.
- Awad Alsiad Abdelgaioum, (m), Chairman of the SCP central council. Mr. Abdelgaioum was arrested on 6 November from his home in Alshabia neighbourhood of Khartoum Bahri at 9pm. He was allowed to receive a visit from his family on 17 November.
- Abu-Bakr Yousef, (m), Political Secretary. Mr. Abu-Bakr Yousef was arrested on 7 November from his home in Khartoum III at 10pm.
- Mastor Ahmed Mohamed, (m), Secretary General. Mr. Mohamed was arrested on 7 November outside SCP headquarters in Shambat neighbourhood, Khartoum Bahri, at 3 pm. Mr. Mohamed has previously been detained several times for his activism within the SCP, and was flogged in 2015 alongside two other SCP members.
- Suleiman Khalifa Dinar, (m). Mr. Dinar was arrested on 7 November from Alkakla neighborhood of Khartoum at an unknown time.
- Noor Eldien Babikir, (m). Mr. Babiker was arrested on 7 November in Khartoum III at 10pm.
- Ibrahim El Sheikh Abdulrahman, (m), former SCP chairperson and member of the SCP Leadership Council. Mr. El Sheikh was arrested on 7 November from his home in Almoqtraben, Khartoum Bahri, at 11am. Ibrahim El Sheikh had previously been detained for over three months in 2014.
- Omer Kamal, (m), member of the SCP’s student wing, the Independent Student Congress. Mr. Kamal was arrested on 7 November from an unknown location at 10pm.
- Yasin Salah Shashog. Mr. Shashog was arrested on 7 November from his home in Khartoum III at 10pm.
- Ahmed Abu Zaid, (m), chairperson of Eastern Nile’s SCP section. Mr. Zaid was arrested on 8 November from Elhaj Yousef neighbourhood of Khartoum Bahri at 6pm.
- Udia Hamdan Yousef, (m). Mr. Yousef was arrested on 8 November from Alnuhod, West Kordofan, at 5pm.
- Omer Yousef Eldeegir, (m). Mr. Eldeegir was arrested on 9 November from his home in Omdurman at 2am. He was allowed to receive a family visit on 17 November.
- Abdulrahem Mustafa Abdulrahem, (m), member of the ISC. Mr. Abdulrahem was arrested on 9 November outside the Faculty of Arts at Karima University, Northern state.
- Basim Ismail, (m), member of the ISC. Mr. Ismail was arrested on 9 November outside the Faculty of Arts at Karima University, Northern state.
- Alfatih Abdallah, member of the ISC. Mr. Abdallah was arrested on 9 November outside the Faculty of Arts at Karima University, Northern state.
- Noureldien Salah Eldien Mahmoud, (m), SCP Vice President of the Khartoum state section. Mr. Mahmoud was arrested on 9 November from his home in Altaief neighborhood, Khartoum, at 10pm.
ACJPS has serious safety concerns for the 17 SCP members detained incommunicado by the NISS. The lack of access to lawyers and family members to the group detained in NISS custodies near Shande Bus Station, together with the well-documented use by the NISS of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, gives rise to serious concerns for their safety. Under the 2010 National Security Act, detainees can be held for up to four and a half months without judicial review.
ACJPS calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately guarantee the safety of the SCP detainees, grant them immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers and family members, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards. ACJPS also underscores the ongoing silencing of political opposition members, activists, and human rights defenders through arbitrary detention and criminal charges, despite constitutional guarantees to the freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
The SCP is a political opposition party registered in Sudan, which has seen a resurgence in recent years due to its vocal calls for mobilization for popular demonstrations, and public criticism of the ruling National Congress Party. The right to form or join political parties is guaranteed under Article 40 of the 2005 Interim National Constitution.
In both 2014 and 2015 ACJPS documented waves of arrests of SCP members. In June and July 2014, ACJPS at least 28 SCP party members were rounded up and arrested following the arrest of the party leader, Ibrahim El Sheikh on June 8. El Sheikh was arrested the day after he publicly criticized the government’s Rapid Support Forces at a party symposium in Al Nuhud, West Kordofan. He was charged with six offenses, including undermining the constitutional order, which carries the death penalty. All charges were later dropped and he was released on 15 September.
Hassan Ishag, a journalist and party member who had reported Elsheikh’s detention on social media, was arrested by plainclothes police officers on 10 June. Ishag was beaten and kicked during interrogations, causing him to lose consciousness. He was then transferred to prison and detained without charge under the 1997 Emergency Act. He was released on 19 September 2014.
On 6 July 2015, three members of the Sudanese Congress Party – Mastor Ahmed Mohammed, Asim Omer Hassan, and Ibrahim Mohamed Zain – were convicted of disturbing the public peace after they participated in an event calling for the release of party members who had been detained in connection with a boycott of the national elections. The penalty of 20 lashings each was implemented immediately without legal representation or an opportunity to appeal.
The arrests come following announcements by the Government of Sudan to implement austerity measures, lifting the price of petrol and diesel in the country by 30%. Raises for public sector workers were announced concurrently. The national budget in Sudan is heavily concentrated in military and defence spending to support the ongoing conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.
During nation-wide anti-austerity demonstrations in September and October 2013, at least 185 people were killed across the country. The majority were shot in the head or chest, whilst many others were shot in the back. Over 800 individuals were arrested.
Mossaad Mohamed Ali, (English and Arabic) ACJPS Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +256 779584542.
Emily Cody, (English), ACJPS Programme Officer, email@example.com, +256 788695068.