Launch of Arab campaign for the release of political detainees in Sudan
The Arab Coalition for Sudan (ACS) and the Arab Network for Media Crises (ANMC) have launched a 90 days campaign for the release of all political detainees in Sudan, and the cancellation of charges against those convicted of political actions in Sudan. The organisations plan to collect signatures for this goal under the slogan “Freedom is a Right, not a Gift”.
They call on “all Sudanese citizens at home and abroad, all human rights activists, and regional and international organisations to join this campaign, scheduled to run from the beginning of September until the end of November”.
ACS and ANMC, in a joint statement issued on Tuesday, expressed deep concern over the fate of the political detainees, and those convicted on a political basis, particularly because they are “subject to harsh physical and psychological torture by the elements of the security apparatus”. The ACS has collected information about 203 political detainees in Sudan.
In the Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile conflict zones, citizens are considered suspects, and detained “after each battle between the governmental forces and the armed movements”. “They are subject to expeditious unfair trials and maltreatment.” In Sudan’s capital of Khartoum, political activists, journalists, students, and human rights activists are detained. Some of these are held in custody for long periods without being charged, the statement says.
The two Arab organisations state that the widespread detentions are incompatible with the Sudanese government’s plans to conduct a comprehensive national dialogue with all political and civil forces in the country. In his announcement of a national dialogue, President Omar Al Bashir pledged to release all political detainees, and to lift censorship on the press in order to create an appropriate climate for a dialogue conducive to address the country’s crises.
Moreover, such “practices of arbitrary arrests, attacks on human rights and freedoms, especially the attacks on the freedom of opinion and expression, undermine the government’s credibility, regionally and internationally,” the organisations stress.
Most of the detentions are carried out by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which is, the statement says, contradicting with Sudan’s Interim Constitution, in which the role of the NISS is restricted to the “collection of information, analysis, and giving advice to the concerned authorities”.
Apart from collecting as many signatures as possible, ACS and ANMC will organise meetings and forums in cooperation with civil society organisations and committed citizens, that tackle the situation of freedoms in Sudan, and the humanitarian situation in the conflict zones.
The organisations called on all Sudanese at home and abroad to join the campaign, and to organise solidarity protests for the release of the political detainees.
The campaign “also aims to break the Arab and international silence about what is going on in Sudan, especially since the Arab media have forgotten the case of Sudan for years”.
File photo: Demonstration of members of the eastern Sudanese Beja Congress in Manchester, UK, February 2012
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