EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 54/19/92
UA 162/92 Legal Concern/ Fear of Torture 15 May 1992
SUDAN: Hassan Osman, politician
Dr Mohamad al-Gadi, pharmacist
Mustapha Zaki Mustapha, politician
Abdallah Barakat - lay preacher
Hassan Osman, Mohamed al-Gadi and Mustapha Zaki Mustapha, members of the banned
Sudan Communist Party (SCP), were arrested in Khartoum on 29 April 1992 on
allegations of possessing leaflets and copies of the al-Maidan newspaper, an
SCP newspaper banned by the government, which is now published underground.
The government considers the banned publication to be seditious literature,
and anyone convicted of possessing it faces the death penalty.
Abdallah Barakat, a prominent member of the Ansar sect and supporter of the
banned Umma party, was arrested at the start of May 1992 and is reported to
be held in incommunicado detention at security headquarters in Khartoum.
Mohamed al-Mahdi, the official imam (religious leader) of the Ansar Mosque
in Sudan's second city of Omdurman and a critic of the government, was detained
at the same time but was released after 10 days. It is not known why either
of these men were arrested, but there are reports that a number of prominent
Ansar have been called to report to the security headquarters over recent weeks.
Amnesty International is concerned that the four men who remain in detention
could be tortured or ill-treated in detention. The place of detention of the
three members of the banned SCP is unknown. It is believed, however, that
they are being held either in the security headquarters in Khartoum or in secret
detention centres known in Sudan as "ghost houses" where torture is widely
Torture and ill-treatment are routine in "ghost houses" and the security
headquarters. Amnesty International has been able to confirm the torture in
detention centres of more than 100 people arrested since November 1989. One
of their victims, Ali Fadul, a medical doctor, is reported to have died as
a result of torture on 22 April 1990 (see UA 164/90, AFR 54/22/90). More
recently, over 75 civilians and former and serving army officers arrested in
late August 1991 in connection with an alleged coup attempt, were reportedly
tortured in "ghost houses". An elderly prisoner was bound and suspended by
his wrists from the walls of his cell on three consecutive nights. A civilian
prisoner is reported to have had the flesh from his heels sliced off. There
are reports of prisoners being whipped, of others having their testicles crushed
with pliers and of yet others being burnt by hot irons.