APPENDIX D: The growing scale and severity of repression throughout Sudan
Eric Reeves | May 22, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1TE
(My commentary, where it is provided, is always in blue italics, in [brackets], followed by my initials)
Perhaps the place to begin in this Appendix is with the assessment of press freedom in Sudan by Reporters Without Borders (RWB): in its most recent Survey, RWB ranked Sudan 174th out of 180 countries assessed. Only a handful of countries—such as North Korea, Eritrea, China, and Syria—are more repressive. And the evidence at hand makes clear that press freedom is declining rapidly, and that protests are being met more violently by police and security forces. The dispatches below, collectively, are unambiguous in implication.
One of the most significant blows to freedom of news expression in Sudan occurred not in the country itself, but in larger Arab world, where “ArabSat,” an Arabic news broadcasting network, removed Radio Dabanga at Khartoum’s request:
Mohamed Karim Mahmoud, product marketing manager of ArabSat Broadcast Services, said the decision to remove the radio station was based on a formal complaint he had received on the 24th of May 2015 by the Sudanese ministry of information, said a statement issued by the radio station. “The station is considered to be hostile to the Sudanese government,” said ArabSat in its announcement to stop Radio Dabanga broadcasting. (Sudan Tribune, July 18, 2015)
[This represents a craven capitulation by ArabSat and is further demonstration of the selective concern of Arab countries in responding to the extraordinary suffering of the people of Darfur, all of whom are Muslim. By failing to carry Radio Dabanga, ArabSat has made itself complicit in the broader effort by Khartoum to render Darfur invisible. The international community as a whole has been far too accommodating of these efforts—ER]
ARREST, TORTURE, DENIAL OF TRAVEL, AND HARRASMENT OF JOURNALISTS
These repeated, insistent actions, often brutal actions by the regime are meant to put free expression in a deep freeze, despite the regime’s nominal call for a “National Dialogue,” an absurd notion nonetheless supported uncritically by too many into international community.
Dispatches have been organized chronologically to give a sense of whelming domestic opposition to the regime and increasingly strenuous public demonstrations. Khartoum’s escalation of force, including lethal force, is also clearly in evidence in the implicit chronology, and suggests that the struggle to remove the regime will be an exceedingly bloody one.
This repression is implicitly sanctioned by the continuing international embrace of the regime.
Sudan security detains 17 women in Khartoum | February 4, 2016 | KHARTOUM NORTH (Radio Dabanga)
Detained journalist rushed to North Darfur hospital | February 28, 2016 | EL FASHER (Radio Dabanga)
Second raid by security forces on training centre in Sudan’s capital | March 2, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese journalist released in Saudi Arabia, El Sudani [newspaper] gagged | March 16, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
[At the behest of Khartoum’s security services, Saudi Arabia’s increasingly fascistic “kingdom” had detained Walid al-Hussain, a distinguished journalist reporting on Sudan from Riyadh, for many months—ER]
Another Sudanese activist prevented from travel to Geneva | March 30, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
“Good Girls Don’t Protest”: Repression and Abuse of Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, and Protesters in Sudan,” Human Rights Watch, March 23, 2016
Sudan has a long record of stifling dissent by targeting activists for specific abuses, such as beatings, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, ill-treatment in detention, interrogation for long hours, and intrusive government surveillance. The government also restricts freedom of expression, assembly and association by censoring or confiscating newspapers, harassing civil society organizations, and using lethal force to break up protests and demonstrations.
While these patterns of repression are well-documented, scant attention has been paid to the toll of this repression on women activists and human rights defenders. Yet, as popular protests and civil society activism by women has increased, so too have reports of abuses and repression against them. As this report shows, women involved in protests, rights campaigns, social services, legal aid, and journalism, and other public action have been targeted for a range of abuses, and operate in a wider context of gender inequality that makes their activism all the more challenging.
Based on interviews with more than 85 female activists and human rights defenders in Sudan’s urban centers, this report documents the patterns of abuse women experience at the hands of government security forces and the restrictive environment in which they work. It describes how women activists and human rights defenders face an array of abusive practices their male colleagues are less likely to have to contend with – from sexual violence to the deliberate efforts of security personnel to tar their reputations in ways that can cause lasting social and professional harm.
UN Human Rights Council: Sudanese human rights defenders prevented from travel to Geneva UPR meeting | (28 March 2016) – Sudan’s security agency has prevented three members of a civil society coalition from travelling to Geneva, Switzerland, to take part in meetings in preparation for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sudan in May. The three were stopped by plain-clothed security agents after checking in, told they were banned from travel, and their passports were confiscated. (African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, March 28, 2016)
Two Sudanese lawyers detained at protest against judiciary abuses | March 30, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudan bars human rights activists from travelling | March 29, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Activists detained in Kadugli, South Kordofan | April 7, 2016 | KADUGLI (Radio Dabanga)
‘Detained for criticising Darfur Governor’: released journalist | April 8, 2016 | EL FASHER (Radio Dabanga)
Leader of Eastern Front ex-fighters detained in Port Sudan | April 8, 2016 | PORT SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
Two Darfur referendum monitors beaten | April 12, 2016 | ED DAEIN / TENDELTI (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese journalist Siraj detained again | April 12, 2016 | EL FASHER (Radio Dabanga)
Sudan paper’s print run seized, editor quizzed | April 13, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Two referendum demonstrators detained in Khartoum | April 13, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
NISS arrests dozens of Khartoum University’s alumni, activists say | April 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese activists said on Saturday that the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) has arrested dozens of Khartoum University’s graduates who protested (Sudan Tribune)
More students opposing Darfur referendum held in custody | April 15, 2016 | EL RADOOM / KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Marching Khartoum students detained | April 15, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese security detains dozens of Khartoum University protesters | April 15, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have arrested dozens of students from the University of Khartoum (U of K) following protests against selling (Sudan Tribune)
NISS detains illustrator for mocking Darfur referendum | April 15, 2016 | FORO BARANGA / EL FASHER (Radio Dabanga)
Student detainees’ families storm security HQ in Sudan’s capital | April 17, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Families of September 2013 protest victims refuse Sudan Govt. compensation | April 18, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sit-ins, strikes for release of student detainees in Sudan’s capital | April 18, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
One student killed in clashes at University of Kordofan | April 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – One student was killed and more than twenty others injured on Tuesday in violent clashes among students at the University of Kordofan, 588 km south west of the (Sudan Tribune)
Water cannons end student demo against Darfur referendum | April 19, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
University of Kordofan student slain in election violence | April 19, 2016 | EL OBEID (Radio Dabanga)
Student strike into third day in Sudan’s capital | April 20, 2016 KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Student protests ripple across Sudan | April 21, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Kordofan students charged after deadly protest | April 22, 2016 | EL OBEID (Radio Dabanga)
23 Sudanese graduates detained in Khartoum | April 25, 2016 | KHARTOUM / LONDON (Radio Dabanga)
Khartoum University threatens to close doors | April 26, 2016 KHARTOUM / PORT SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
Anger as student activist shot dead in Sudan | April 27, 2016 | OMDURMAN (Radio Dabanga) – A student at Omdurman’s Ahlia University was shot dead when the student supporters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), backed by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Service (NISS) opened fire as he was addressing the Association of Nuba Mountains Students today. It is the second deadly incident involving Sudanese university students in nine days.
Multiple callers told Radio Dabanga that Mohamed Sadiq, a student at the University of Omdurman Ahlia who also taught English Language Level II at the university’s Faculty of Arts, died from bullet wounds.
We should juxtapose these repressive realities with the glib statement from the Obama administration the following week–ER
‘Free media strengthen societies’: US diplomat in Sudan | May 4, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
University student killed by government supporters in Khartoum | April 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – One student was killed and three others injured Wednesday in violent clashes between government and opposition supporters at Omdurman Ahlia University (OAU) (Sudan Tribune)
Student unrest continues across Sudan | April 28, 2016 | SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
Sudan’s NISS bans reporting on student protests: watchdog | April 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese media watchdog said Friday that the security service directed the newspapers to not report about student demonstrations to protest the recent killing of two (Sudan Tribune)
Students rally against killings in Sudan’s universities | April 29, 2016 | KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN / BAHRI / PORT SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
Dozens more Sudanese students detained | May 1, 2016 | SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
Sudan ruling party accuses opposition of exporting violence to universities | May 1, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Sunday accused the armed and political opposition groups of bringing violence from the peripheral conflict areas to the Sudanese (Sudan Tribune)
Khartoum University partially suspends lectures | May 03, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The University of Khartoum has partially suspended lectures and closed eight colleges in its old building along the Nile Avenue. Anti-riot police uses water cannon (Sudan Tribune)
Classes suspended as Khartoum University protests continue | May 4, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Open Letter concerning excessive use of force by Sudanese authorities | May 4, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
NISS raid law office in Sudanese capital: 12 arrested | May 6, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Outrage over student detentions in Sudan’s capital | May 8, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Outrage over student detentions in Sudan’s capital | May 8, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Journalists harassed, detained by Sudanese security service | May 9 – 2016 EL GENEINA / KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Security detains six West Darfur school board members | May 10, 2016 | EL GENEINA (Radio Dabanga)
Students torch Khartoum University mosque | May 10, 2016 | KHARTOUM / KOSTI (Radio Dabanga)
El Jareeda copies seized again, journalist detained | May 13, 2016 | KHARTOUM / NEW YORK (Radio Dabanga)
Five students wounded at Omdurman campus | May 17, 2016 | OMDURMAN (Radio Dabanga)
Violent clashes between Islamic university groups continue in Khartoum | May 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Violent clashes between students loyal to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and supporters of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) have continued (Sudan Tribune)
Khartoum protest: Woman suffocated by teargas | May 20, 2016 | KHARTOUM NORTH (Radio Dabanga) – A woman died on Thursday due to suffocation by the teargas riot police used to disperse demonstrators in El Jiraif East, a neighbourhood in northern Khartoum. Hundreds of residents went out on the streets on Wednesday morning to demonstrate against the removal of historic brick factories and the removal of their houses. They burned tires and blocked the main road. The police used large amounts of teargas to draw back the protesters. Two demonstrators were seriously wounded when the riot police fired live ammunition at the crowd. The police also used teargas in the residential areas, and a witness said that some residents fainted because the smoke entered their houses.
For a broader assessment, see the 2015/2016 Report on Sudan from Amnesty International
See especially the statement by Sudan Consortium/African and International Civil Society Action for Sudan | Open Letter concerning excessive use of force by Sudanese authorities, May 3, 2016 (below)
CONFISCATION OF NEWSPAPERS
These confiscations of already printed newspapers can be financially crippling to the newspaper owners, a reality that the National Intelligence and Security Services frequently uses to make a particularly harsh statement.
Sudanese security confiscates print runs of two newspapers | March 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) seized copies of Al-Ayam and Al-Mustaqilla newspaper in the early hours of Sunday from the printing… (Sudan Tribune)
El Ayam newspaper gagged in Sudan capital | March 28, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese security confiscates Akhir Lahza newspaper for the second time | April 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Sunday has confiscated copies of Akhir Lahza daily newspaper for the second time within 72 hours from the (Sudan Tribune)
Sudanese security seizes Al-Taghyeer newspaper for the second day | April 13, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Wednesday seized print runs of Al-Taghyeer daily newspaper for the second time in a row from the printing (Sudan Tribune)
Sudanese security confiscates Al-Saiha newspaper | April 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Sunday dawn seized print runs of Al-Saiha daily newspaper from the printing house without giving reasons. (Sudan Tribune)
Sudan daily seized on consecutive days | April 18, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
NISS confiscates Sudan daily again | April 25, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese security confiscates Al-Gareeda newspaper | May 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Chief Editor of Al-Gareeda newspaper Ashraf Abdel-Aziz said the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) has seized print runs of his newspaper (Sudan Tribune)
Sudanese security seizes Al-Gareeda newspaper for the second day | May 10, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) has seized copies of Al-Gareeda newspaper on Tuesday morning for the second time in a row from the printing (Sudan Tribune)
Sudanese paper defies reporting ban – print runs seized | May 11, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
Sudanese security confiscates Al-Gareeda newspaper for the fifth time | May 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) has seized copies of Al-Gareeda newspaper on Monday for the fifth time from the printing house without stating (Sudan Tribune)
The Sudan Consortium/African and International Civil Society Action for Sudan
Open Letter concerning excessive use of force by Sudanese authorities, May 3, 2016
Thirty nine organisations and individuals have written to the Government of Sudan, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the ACHPR Commissioner on the human rights situation in Sudan, the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan and UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association condemning the use of excessive force by Sudanese authorities to disperse peaceful demonstrators across Sudan. In the first four months of 2016, at least nine people, including one child, have been killed in three separate incidents.
The signatories urged all concerned actors to exert strong and effective pressure on the Sudanese government to halt its ongoing campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention and excessive use of force to silence dissenting voices.
3 May 2016
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
ACHPR Commissioner on the Human Rights Situation in Sudan, Mr Lawrence Mute
Government of Sudan
UN Human Rights Council UN Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Sudan, Mr Aristide Nononsi
UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Maina Kiai
cc: African Union Peace and Security Council UN Security Council
Open Letter concerning excessive use of force by Sudanese authorities
We, the undersigned thirty-nine organizations and individuals, are writing to inform you of the use of excessive force by Sudanese authorities to disperse peaceful demonstrators across Sudan. At least nine people, including one child, have been killed in three separate incidents in 2016 alone. Most recently, two students were killed in separate incidents in April, in which government security forces and armed students used live ammunition to break up protests at two university campuses. We are concerned that government forces will continue to use excessive force against protesters and to arbitrarily detain those who participate in them as they have done repeatedly since 2011.
The April incidents are the latest examples of an ongoing pattern of abuse. In September 2013 government forces used live ammunition to break up peaceful protests, killing more than 170 protesters. They also detained at least 800 protesters without charge during the crackdown in late September and early October, and subjected many to ill-treatment in detention. There has been little or no accountability for the deaths, injuries and various other abuses perpetrated by Sudanese authorities against protesters.
A patchwork of legal immunities effectively shields government forces from criminal prosecution and accountability. We, the undersigned Sudanese and international civil society organizations, condemn these unlawful killings and other abuses by government and allied forces. We urge you to reiterate to the Government of Sudan that all Sudanese have the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Killing of two students, and injury to dozens more, in demonstrations in North Kordofan and Omdurman in April 2016 On 19 and 27 April, two students were killed in two separate incidents in which government forces used live ammunition to disperse demonstrations on two university campuses.
- On 19 April 2016, Abubakar Hassan, (m), 18 years of age and a first year engineering student at the University of Kordofan in El Obeid, North Kordofan state, was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Twenty-seven other students were injured, five of them seriously. The attack began when the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), intercepted a group of students marching peacefully towards the Student Union to submit a list of pro-opposition candidates for student union elections that day.
The NISS agents, using AK47 rifles and pistols, fired into the crowd. In the following days students demonstrated at universities across the country protesting Mr. Hassan’s death.
- On 27 April 2016, at around 1pm, Mohamed al-Sadiq Wayo, (m), 20 years of age and a second year student at the Faculty of Arts at Omdurman Ahlia University in Khartoum State, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. Witnesses reported that the victim was shot by NISS agents after a political forum took place, which had been organized by the Nuba Mountain Students’ Association and at which members criticized the killing of Mr. Hassan as well as the forcible dispersal of demonstrations at Khartoum University on 13 April 2016. Three other students were injured when alleged security forces in plainclothes attacked the students at the forum with iron batons and forced them out the main gate of the University. After some students had crossed the street, NISS officers fired at them, shooting Mr. Wayo in the chest. Mr. Wayo’s death certificate is attached.
The two killings took place amidst a wave of student demonstrations, beginning with protests at the University of Khartoum on 13 April 2016 over rumours that the main campus would be moved following the sale of campus land to investors.
Amnesty International reported that five student activists from the University of Khartoum were detained without charge after being arrested by the NISS on 13 and 14 April 2016. Two students were released without charge on 23 April, with a third student released and charged under article 182, ‘Criminal Damage’ of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code. A fourth detainee was released on 2 May 2016. The fifth detainee, Ahmed Zuhair, (m), remains detained by the NISS. Killing of protestors, including a child, at demonstrations in West Darfur in January 2016 The recent killings form part of a larger pattern of the use of violence to suppress freedom of expression, association, and assembly across the country. Earlier this year, on 10 January 2016, at least seven people, including one child, were killed when security forces opened live ammunition at a crowd of protestors outside the West Darfur state governor’s office.
The crowd had gathered to demand protection after the nearby village of Mouli was looted and burned to the ground. The following day, three people were killed and seven others sustained gunshot wounds when security forces again fired live ammunition at the funeral for the deceased. Arbitrary Arrest and Detention An unknown number of detainees remain in NISS custody following arrest during student demonstrations in April 2016.
We are concerned for the safety and well-being of all detainees held by NISS, particularly youth activists. In the past, our organisations have documented a number of incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention in conjunction with protests on Sudan’s University campuses. More than 800 people were detained during the crackdowns on protests in September and October 2013. In another example, three youth activists from the University of Khartoum were detained without charge or access to a lawyer for three months, from 12 May – 11 July 2014. They were detained after a Darfuri student Ali Abaker Musa Idris, (m), was killed on 11 March 2014 as Sudanese forces opened fire during a demonstration organized by the Darfur Students’ Association condemning escalating violence in Darfur.
Two of the detainees reported being subjected to ill-treatment during their detention. The group was only released when they signed a document pledging to no longer partake in political activities. Lack of accountability for deaths of students We are concerned that the recent killings of Mr. Hassan, Mr. Wayo, and the civilians in January in Darfur, will go unpunished. A culture of impunity exists in Sudan due to legal immunities that effectively shield NISS, the police, and the army from prosecution. During the September 2013 anti-austerity protests, Sudanese security forces fired live ammunition to disperse protestors. Although human rights groups documented that more than 170 were killed, many because of gun-shot wounds to the chest or head, Sudanese authorities have acknowledged just 85 deaths.
Out of at least 85 criminal complaints pursued by victims’ families, only one progressed to court. The murder conviction of the accused, a Sudan Armed Forces officer, was overturned on appeal. Human rights defenders and victims’ rights groups calling for justice and accountability for the 2013 protest killings have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and harassment.
Sudan should immediately put an end to persistent the human rights violations committed by its police and security services, remove provisions that provide them with broad powers of arrests and detention, and repeal immunities protecting them from prosecution. We urge all concerned actors to exert strong and effective pressure on the Sudanese government to halt its ongoing campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention and excessive use of force to silence dissenting voices. We also call for the following urgent steps to be taken to ensure justice and accountability regarding the crimes outlined above:
- An immediate and impartial investigation by the Government of Sudan into the killings that have occurred in 2016 with a clear timeframe for the public announcement of the findings of these investigations.
- The immediate charge or release of all those arbitrarily detained, and for those charged, prompt access to a lawyer of their own choosing and full respect for their rights as detainees and to due process and a fair trial.
- The prompt release by the Government of Sudan of the findings of its previous commissions of inquiry, such as the investigations into the September 2013 killing of protestors and other incidents regarding the excessive use of force.
- The repeal by the Government of Sudan of the extensive immunities it has stipulated in Sudanese legislation that are protecting government officials and authorities from prosecution, and to hold those responsible for killings and other serious violations and crimes such as torture to account. Sincerely,
- African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
- African Soul, American Heart
- Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment (KACE)
- Amnesty International
- Baroness Caroline Cox, House of Lords and President HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust)
- Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur and Marginalised Sudan
- Center for Democracy and Peace
- Civil Society Initiative
- Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action
- Darfur Bar Association
- Darfur Interfaith Network
- DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
- Face Past for Future
- Freedom House
- Humanity United
- Human Rights Watch
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- International Justice Project
- International Refugee Rights Initiative
- Jews against Genocide
- Journalists for Human Rights – Sudan
- Justice Africa for Rights and Developments
- Kamilia Ibrahim Kuku, Sudanese human rights activist
- New York Coalition for Sudan 26. Nubia Project
- Operation Broken Silence
- PAX for Peace
- Preliminary Committee of the University of Khartoum Alumni in UK and Ireland
- Sudan Consortium
- Sudan Democracy First Group
- Sudan Human Rights Network
- Sudan Social Development Organisation
- Sudanese Solidarity Committee
- Sudan Unlimited
- Sudanese Human Rights Monitor
- The Enough Project
- Waging Peace
Contact: In Kampala: Mossaad Mohamed Ali, (English and Arabic) ACJPS Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +256 7795845