Document - UA 203/94 - Sudan: fear of torture: Mahjoub Sherif, Salah al-A'alim, Bushra Abdel-Karim

EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: AFR 54/20/94

Distr: UA/SC

UA 203/94 Fear of torture26 May 1994

SUDANMahjoub Sherif, poet

Salah al-A'alim, trade unionist

Bushra Abdel-Karim, lawyer and Secretary General of Sudanese Youth Union

Mahjoub Sherif, Salah al-A'alim and Bushra Abdel-Karim were reportedly arrested in Khartoum on or around 11 May 1994. It is not known why they have been detained or where they are being held, but, as members of the banned Sudan Communist Party, they are at serious risk of torture while in detention. Amnesty International also believes that they may be prisoners of conscience imprisoned for their non-violent opposition to the government.


Political prisoners are held without charge or trial in Sudan on the basis of Constitutional Decree Two of 30 June 1989 which established a State of Emergency. The decree bans the "showing of any political opposition by any means to the regime of the Revolution for National Salvation".

Anyone detained by the Sudanese security authorities is at risk of ill-treatment, in particular those held in secret detention centres known as "ghost houses". Those whom the authorities suspect may have information about opposition activities are at risk of severe torture. In the past the authorities have blamed torture and ill-treatment on undisciplined security officials. Amnesty International's information, however, suggests that torture and ill-treatment remain systematic.

Mahjoub Sherif has been detained on a number of previous occasions both under former governments and under the present government which seized power in June 1989. In September 1989 he was arrested with scores of other political activists and remained in detention until May 1991.

Mahjoub Sherif is a poet well known for his writings about the struggle for freedom and democracy, and is popularly known in Sudan as "the people's poet".

Leave Me Handcuffed by Mahjoub Sherif

Leave me handcuffed in your prisons,

Forget me detained in your cells,

For I fight for a better future,

I fight for our children who will come

And these marvellous people

I fight for a humane life


Revolution is my destiny

In my short life-time,

Long live freedom

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters either in English or Arabic, or in your own language:

- expressing concern at the arrest in mid-May 1994 of Mahjoub Sherif, Salah al-A'alim, Bushra Abdel-Karim whom Amnesty International believes may be prisoners of conscience imprisoned for their non-violent opposition to the government;

- seeking public assurances of their safety and guarantees that they are not being subjected to torture or ill-treatment;

- urging that their whereabouts in custody and grounds for detention be made public and that they are granted immediate and regular access to their family and to legal counsel;

- urging that they be immediately and unconditionally released if they are being held for their non-violent opinions, and that otherwise they be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought promptly to a fair trial.


1) His Excellency Lieutenant General

Omar Hassan al-Bashir

President of the Republic of the Sudan

People's Palace

PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan

Telegrams: Lt Gen Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Khartoum, Sudan

Telexes: 22385 PEPLC SD or 22411 KAID SD

Faxes: 249 11 71724

Salutation: Your Excellency

2) Brigadier-Engineer 'Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Husayn

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior

People's Palace

PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan

Telegrams: Brig-Engineer 'Abd al-Rahim Muhammed Husayn, Khartoum, Sudan

Telexes: 22842 WZARA SD or 22604 IPOL SD

Faxes:249 11 71724/76554/73046/70186

Salutation: Dear Deputy Prime Minister

3) Mr 'Abd al-Aziz Shiddu

Minister of Justice and Attorney-General

Ministry of Justice, Khartoum, Sudan

Telegrams: Mr 'Abd al-Aziz Shiddu, Khartoum, Sudan

Telexes:22459 KHRJA SD or 22461 KHRJA SD (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Faxes:249 11 74063

Salutation: Dear Minister


Mr Jalal Ali Lutfi

Chief Justice

Law Courts

Khartoum, Sudan

Mr Hussein Suleiman Abu Salih

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PO Box 873

Khartoum, Sudan

Dr A. al-Mufti

Secretary of Human Rights Commission*

Khartoum, Sudan

* The Human Rights Commission is a government-backed body, nominally independent, but apparently created to counter what the government perceives as hostile human rights propaganda.

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 8 July 1994.

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