PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 54/007/2009
15 January 2009
UA 9/09 Arbitrary arrest/Incommunicado detention/Fear of torture or other ill-treatment
SUDAN Hassan Al Turabi (m), aged 76, opposition group leader
Hassan Al Turabi, leader of the opposition group Popular Congress Party (PCP), was arrested on 14 January by
armed agents of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), at his home in the capital,
Khartoum. He has been held incommunicado, without charge, since then, and has had no access to medical
Although his family followed him to the NISS detention centre, they were not allowed to go in with him. The
NISS have since refused to allow them to see him, to give him his medicine and special food.
Al Turabi is about to turn 77 and requires medication as well as a special diet (his doctors have told him not
to eat spicy or salty food). He was first held at an NISS detention centre, and then moved to Kober prison in
Al Turabi’s arrest came two days after he addressed journalists in the PCP offices: he told them that President
Al Bashir should present himself to the International Criminal Court and face trial, to spare Sudan further
internal crisis and collapse. He told them that, because he was in power, President Al-Bashir was politically
responsible for the crimes such as killings, rape, displacement and burning of the villages that have been
taking place since 2003 in Darfur.
Al Turabi has not been charged with any offence. Neither his family nor his lawyer have been officially
informed of the reasons for his arrest. His family do not know how he is being treated, or how his health has
Hassan Al Turabi is the latest in a series of individuals, including human rights activists and others, detained
solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression in Sudan, particularly since on 14 July
2008, when the ICC Prosecutor applied for a warrant for the arrest of President Al Bashir. Some of those
arrested and detained were tortured and otherwise ill-treated.
Amnesty International believes that Al Turabi’s arrest is arbitrary, carried out in response to his 12 January
statement to journalists.
PCP leader Hassan Al Turabi, who was one of the people behind the 1989 coup d'état that brought President
Omar Al Bashir to power, had fallen out with the president. He was imprisoned in Kober from February to May
2001, after which he was put under house arrest until October 2003, when he was pardoned by presidential
decree. He was never brought to trial. He was again incarcerated between 2004 and 2005.
Although Sudan’s Criminal Procedure Code contains safeguards against incommunicado detention, Article 31
of the National Security Forces Act, which governs arrests by the NISS, allows incommunicado detention
without charge for up to nine months. This increases the likelihood of torture and other ill-treatment.