Sudan should stop the brutal suppression of protest and hold to account the security forces responsible for killing, injuring, and torturing protesters throughout the country.
A group of 15 female protestors were beaten with wooden batons by members of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Wednesday 3 February at Haj Yousef bus station in Khartoum. The women had staged a protest to demand justice and accountability for the people killed by security forces during nationwide protests in 2013. Their placards, calling for justice and accountability for the killing of at least 185 people in September and October 2013, were confiscated, and the women arrested and taken to Khartoum Bahri police station. The women were released at midnight the same night without any interrogation or criminal charges being issued.
Ehlam Khidir, the mother of Hazza Eldin Jafar Hassan, who was killed during a protest on 25 September 2013 in the Shambat area of Khartoum Bahri, was hit over the head with a wooden baton when she was arrested on 3 February. Hazza Eldin Jafar Hassan was nineteen years of age and was shot in the head by security forces. Ms. Khidir was briefly admitted to hospital for medical treatment.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has documented the repeated use of excessive and lethal force by Sudanese authorities to disperse protests and other public gatherings in recent years. ACJPS confirmed the killing of at least 185 people during nationwide anti-austerity and anti-government protests in September and October 2013. Sudanese authorities have acknowledged just 85 deaths. A majority of death certificates issued listed cause of death as “mysterious circumstances”, despite a majority of victims having been shot in the head or chest. The mandate, composition and findings of three commissions of inquiry reportedly established by the Sudanese government to investigate the killings have never been made public. Out of at least 85 criminal complaints pursued by victims’ families, only one progressed to court, concerning the case of Dr. Sara Abdelbagi who was shot and killed outside her uncle’s home in the Aldorashab neighbourhood of Khartoum Bahri on 25 September 2013. The murder conviction of the accused, a Sudan Armed Forces officer, was overturned on appeal.
ACJPS reiterates its calls for the security forces responsible for killing, injuring, and torturing protesters to be held to account. Sudan should stop violently suppressing protests and demonstrations and guarantee the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as provided under Sudanese and international law.
The violent suppression of protest in Sudan has become commonplace. Recent weeks have witnessed the violent suppression of protests and public gatherings in West Darfur. On 10 January 2016, members of the Central Reserve Police and the NISS fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse a protest taking place outside the West Darfur State Governor’s office in El Geneina, killing at least seven people and wounding ten others. On 11 January, three people were killed and seven others sustained gunshot wounds when the NISS fired live ammunition to disperse at a funeral for the deceased from the previous day. On 31 January, a number of students at El Geneina University were seriously injured when members of the NISS, reportedly operating together with a pro-government student militia, beat them with metal bars and fired gunshots into the air to disperse a political forum that was taking place on the University campus.
The names of the 15 women arrested on 3 February from Haj Yousef bus station are:
Hanan Mohamed Nour
Sara Hassan Adan
Mohamed Badawi, Monitoring Programme Coordinator, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, [email protected], +256 783 693 689.
Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS),[email protected], +256779584542