Sudan: Arrest of leading human rights activist underscores crackdown on dissent

The arrest of award-winning Sudanese human rights activist Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is further proof of the government’s intolerance of independent voices, said Amnesty International after his employer confirmed today that state agents arrested him in Khartoum on 7 December.

He was arrested by National Intelligence Security Service agents at the University of Khartoum, where he works as an engineering professor, and taken to an undisclosed location, where he is at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him and all other detainees who have been arrested arbitrarily, and take measures to rein in the excessive powers of the National Intelligence Security Service
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

He has not been informed of the reasons for his arrest or charged with any offence.

“Mudawi’s arbitrary arrest underscores the government’s desperate attempts to extinguish the last embers of dissent in the country. This wanton repression and disregard for human rights must come to an end,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him and all other detainees who have been arrested arbitrarily, and take measures to rein in the excessive powers of the National Intelligence Security Service.”

Mudawi, 58, has worked extensively on human rights causes throughout Sudan. In 2005, he was awarded the Human Rights Defenders at Risk Award by Front Line Defenders, a Dublin-based human rights organization.

His arrest comes at a time when at least 23 opposition leaders and supporters are in jail having been arrested in connection with a three-day stay-at-home strike called in protest against the rising cost of living and government spending cuts. The strike took place between 27 to 29 November.

It is not the first time Mudawi has been arrested. In December 2003 he was detained for eight months in connection with his work on Darfur. He was arrested again in January 2005 in similar circumstances and held for two months, before being re-arrested in May the same year and held for a further eight days.

His organization, the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), was shut down by the government in March 2009.