EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 54/01/96
UA 36/96 Fear of Torture 14 February 1996
SUDANMoslih Salim Said, truck driver
Lieutenant General Ahmad al-Badawi, air force (retired)
Farah Hassan Suleiman, lawyer
Atif Mohamed Idris, medical doctor
Mohiadin Ali Daoud, former civil servant
Babiker Mohamed Gharib, mechanic
Osman Mohamed Gharib, mechanic
Amnesty International fears that the seven men named above are facing torture
following their arrest in Sudan in late January 1996. Moslih Salim Said, a
truck-driver, was reportedly arrested in the eastern border town of Kassala
near the end of January. It is alleged that under torture he named the six
other men; retired air force officer Ahmad al-Badawi and Farah Hassan Suleiman
were reportedly arrested in Khartoum on 29 January; the other four were detained
in Khartoum two days later. All seven are reported to be held incommunicado
without charge or trial in an unknown location in Khartoum.
The Sudanese authorities are reported to have accused the men of being linked
to the Sudanese National Alliance Forces, a grouping of former Sudanese army
personnel, who form part of the military wing of the National Democratic Alliance
(NDA). Specifically, the authorities are reported to have claimed that the
seven men were responsible for organizing the recruitment of northern Sudanese
youths for military training in Eritrea. The NDA, which is active in Eritrea,
is an umbrella organization of Sudanese opposition political parties, trade
unions and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
Amnesty International's concern that the seven men are being subjected to
torture is intensified because over the past two months the Sudanese authorities
have shown signs of feeling under intense pressure from their eastern
neighbours. In January the Eritrean government allowed the NDA to hold a
high-level meeting in Asmara at which plans to launch military activity in
northern Sudan were announced. On 22 January Issaias Afeworki, the President
of Eritrea, announced that "if the alliance [NDA] needs weapons, we will support
the Sudanese opposition without hesitation".
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has demanded that the Sudanese authorities
hand over three men accused of participating in the attempt to assassinate
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak while on a visit to Addis Ababa in June 1995.
The Sudan Government has counter-accused the Ethiopians of military aggression
on the shared border and has launched a mass mobilization of the Popular Defence
Force (PDF) militia. In mid-January Ethiopia called for an emergency meeting
of the UN Security Council which on 31 January led to a Security Council
resolution calling on the Sudan to hand over the three men within 60 days.
In this context, an accusation of alleged involvement with the Sudanese National
Alliance Forces is extremely serious and prisoners held on this accusation
are at grave risk of torture.
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 March 1995 one of