EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 54/26/94
UA 252/94 Fear of torture / Possible prisoners of conscience 30 June 1994
SUDANAli al-Mahi al-Sakhi, President of the Central Foundry Workers Trade Union
Ali Khalifa, engineer, Secretary General of the Professionals Union of Trade
Siddiq Yusuf, retired engineer
Mohamed Babiker Mukhtar, Secretary General of the Employees Union
El Hag Osman, trade unionist
Suliman al-Khidir, businessman
The six people named above were arrested near Khartoum at the beginning of
June 1994. Their current whereabouts are unknown, and Amnesty International
fears for their physical safety, particularly following reports of torture.
Furthermore, the organization believes they may be prisoners of conscience,
detained because of their trade union activities and their peaceful opposition
to the policies of the military government.
The detainees are reported to be members of the Sudan Communist Party and trade
unionists. Ali al-Mahi al-Sakhi, Siddiq Yusuf and Suliman al-Khidir have all
been detained on previous occasions by the current government of President
Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Their detentions were believed to be connected with
their trade union activities. Ali al-Mahi al-Sakhi was adopted by Amnesty
International as a prisoner of conscience after his arrest in 1991.
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 is systematic.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English, Arabic or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the arrests of the six people named above, who Amnesty
International believes may be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned on account
of their trade union activities;
- seeking assurance of their physical safety and guarantees that they are not
being subjected to torture or ill-treatment;
- urging that their whereabouts in custody be made public and they be granted
immediate and regular access to their families, legal counsel and any necessary
- urging that they be immediately and unconditionally released unless they
are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought promptly
to a fair trial.