Only seven prisoners released in Sudan ‘political prisoner amnesty’
Sudan’s prisoner amnesty announced yesterday does not go far enough, according to Amnesty International. “This prisoner amnesty barely scratches the surface,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director. “Only seven political prisoners have been released. Meanwhile, dozens of people remain in arbitrary detention, some of them prisoners of conscience.”Seven political prisoners were released overnight. Six were prominent members of political parties, namely Abdulaziz Khaled, Entisar al-Agali, Hisham al-Mufti, Abdulrahim Abdallah, Mohammed Zain Alabidein and Youssef al-Kauda. Hatim Ali, a youth activist, was also released. Amnesty International had been calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Over 118 people are reportedly in arbitrary detention in the context of the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan conflicts, including women detained without charges with their infant children. In addition, a number of individuals remain on the death row for their involvement in armed opposition. None of their sentences were commuted.“Freeing seven political prisoners does not indicate the government is truly serious about ending arbitrary detention and releasing prisoners of conscience,” added Belay.Sudan’s authorities continue to resist calls to repeal the 2010 National Security Act, which provides agents of the security services with wide powers of arrest and detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remain widespread.