Sunday , February 18 2018
DP report photo

Blue Nile: Years in prolonged detention and no hope of justice

A legal analysis of the events that occurred after the resumption of conflict in Blue Nile in September 2011

Read the full report here.

Following the outbreak of conflict in Blue Nile state in September 2011, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) documented hundreds of arbitrary arrests on the basis of perceived political affiliation and membership of particular ethnic groups to the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N). These arrests were carried out by officers from the police, National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and Sudanese Armed Forces. The arrested persons were held in prisons in Sennar, Singa and El-Roseires over one-and-a-half years while others were released shortly after the arrests.

In 2012, the Chief Justice at that time issued a special decree establishing various special terrorism courts to try those detained in relation to the 2011 events. The first court sessions the Blue Nile detainees were held in  May 2013 following the establishment of the Special Terrorism Courts in Blue Nile state. ACJPS was able to follow seven cases before the Terrorism Court in Sinja town, Sennar State, involving 119 men who were detained by the NISS at the outbreak of conflict in Blue Nile in September 2011. The detainees were held incommunicado for over 10 months without access to lawyers or their families until the first lawyer visits were permitted in June-August 2012 with permission from the then Minister of Justice.

In October 2016, President Omar Al-Bashir pardoned 24 members of the SPLM-N who had been convicted during trials heard by the Special Terrorism Courts set up in Blue Nile state.

In 2017, ACJPS received information that all the Blue Nile detainees have since been released.

This report provides documentation of the Blue Nile trials followed by ACJPS, an analysis of the law on pre-trial detention and anti-terrorism in relation to the Blue Nile trials, as well as available updates since the conclusion of the trials.