Document - Sudan: Fear of torture / possible prisoners of conscience: Fadlalla Burma Nasir, former cabinet minister, Ali al-Omda Abdel Magid, former member of parliament, Abdel Nabi Ali Ahmad, former governor of Darfur, Tebira Idris Habani, former member of parliame
EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: AFR 54/18/95
UA 124/95Fear of torture / Possible prisoners of conscience2 June 1995
SUDAN Fadlalla Burma Nasir, former cabinet minister
Ali al-Omda Abdel Magid, former member of parliament
Abdel Nabi Ali Ahmad, former Governor of Darfur
Tebira Idris Habani, former member of parliament
Ali Hassan Taj al-Din, former member of State Supreme Council
Abu Bakr Abdel Magid al-Amir, secretary to former Prime Minister
Hussein Adam Salama, former secretary of the Umma Party headquarters
Abdel Mahmud Abu, an imam of the Ansar religious order
Tirab Tendal, prominent member of the Ansar religious order
Sheik Abdallah Ishaq, imam of the al-Mahdi mosque
The 11 men named above are reported to have been detained in Sudan's capital Khartoum as part of a crackdown on the leadership of the Ansar, a traditional order of Sudanese Islam, and the banned Umma Party, which is an associated political party. Amnesty International fears they may be tortured or ill-treated and believes they may be prisoners of conscience.
Abu Bakr Abdel Magid al-Amir was reportedly arrested on 9 May; the others were detained later in the month. Reports indicate that the 11 have been denied access to lawyers and to their families, and that they are being held in Kober prison, the main prison complex in Khartoum, in a wing which has been taken over by the security services. Conditions in the wing are reported to be harsh. The authorities appear to have recently closed a detention centre, a so-called "ghosthouse", that had come under international scrutiny and to have transferred detainees from there to Kober. Security personnel responsible for political and other detainees have been responsible for ill-treatment and torture.
The detentions appear to be connected to the arrest, on 16 May, of Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the Ansar order, leader of the Umma Party and Sudan's Prime Minister overthrown in the 1989 coup (see UA 119/95, AFR 54/15/95, 25 May). While the authorities have not yet indicated specifically why the 11 men have been detained they are reported to have announced that Sadiq al-Mahdi is "being interrogated for involvement in subversive activities". The authorities have given contradictory information about these alleged activities; some spokesmen are reported to have accused Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Umma Party of working with the armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Army.
Independent sources have said that Sadiq al-Mahdi's arrest appears to be a reaction to his outspoken criticism of the legitimacy of Sudan's current rulers on the occasion of the Muslim feast of 'Eid al-Addha on 10 May. The military government, which espouses a radical Islamist ideology, is deeply sensitive to opposition from other interpretations of Islam.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters either in English, Arabic or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the arrest of the 11 men named above, who Amnesty International believes may be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned on account of their non-violent opposition to government policies;
- seeking assurances of their physical safety and guarantees that they are not being subjected to torture or ill-treatment;
- urging that they be immediately and unconditionally released unless they are charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought promptly to a fair trial;
- calling on the Sudan Government to put a stop to arbitrary detention without charge and to the torture and ill-treatment of individuals suspected of being government opponents.
1) His Excellency Lieutenant General
Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of the Sudan
PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
Telegrams: Lt Gen Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Khartoum, Sudan
Telexes: 22385 PEPLC SD or 22411 KAID SD
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Dr al-Tayib Ibrahim Mohamed Kheir
Minister of the Interior
PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan
Telegrams: Minister of the Interior Dr al-Tayib Ibrahim Mohamed Kheir,
Telexes: 22842 WZARA SD or 22604 IPOL SD
Salutation: Dear Minister
3) Mr Ali Osman Mohamed Taha
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873
Telegrams: Foreign Minister Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Khartoum, Sudan
Telexes: 22459 KHRJA SD or 22461 KHRJA SD
Salutation: Dear Minister
Mr 'Abd al-Aziz Shiddo
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General
Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan
Mr Obeid Haj Ali
Mr Angelo Beda Bambara
Chairman of the Human Rights Committee
of the Transitional National Assembly (TNA)*
* The TNA's Human Rights Committee was created by Sudan's government-appointed Transitional National Assembly in December 1992, apparently to counter what the government perceives as hostile human rights propaganda. The Committee's Chairman has said that it investigates reports of human rights violations.
and to diplomatic representatives of Sudan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 17 July 1995.