Conducive Environment Watch: October 2014

Conducive Environment Watch: October 2014

16 October stand for female Darfur students in Khartoum
16 October stand for female Darfur students in Khartoum

The Conducive Environment Watch blog tracks the Government of Sudan’s commitment to creating a favourable setting for democratic transformation, providing a monthly update on human rights violations, repression, any notable improvements, and other democracy related developments.

Talks between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa were postponed until after 25 October 2014. The talks were previously scheduled to begin on 12 October with similar talks with the Darfur armed movements to discuss a cessation of hostilities agreement scheduled for 15 October.

This issue looks at events covering the period  1-15 October 2014:

Arbitrary Arrests

In Khartoum:

  • As of 6 October, most detainees arrested in September have been released. However, Rashid Shikhaldeen Abash, arrested on 23 September, is still in detention, and is at risk of torture and ill-treatment. Mr. Abash, a 39-year-old father of two, is the owner of a printing company that printed some posters intending to commemorate September 2013 victims. The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) raided the company and held the workers hostage, releasing them after Abash surrendered. Abash’s family staged two days of protests in front of NISS headquarters in Khartoum, requesting his immediate release. Some of those released reported that they had suffered a combination of torture and ill-treatment while in detention.
  • On 7 October, Abdel Al Salam Kesha Abdel Al Salam, student at Al-Neelain University, was arrested from his house in Omdurman. No details about the circumstances of his arrest or who arrested him are available.
  • On 6 October, the security services at Khartoum airport arrested Ikhlas Yousif, the wife of the journalist Emmanuel Tombe, who works with Al Arabiya television in Juba. Yousif, a Sudanese national, was visiting her family in Khartoum. In a press statement in Juba, Tombe said that his wife was detained at the airport and taken along with her two-year-old son to the NISS office. Tombe urged the Sudanese authorities to release his wife, who is five months pregnant.
  • Yassin Ibrahim Al Samani, a university student and the chairperson of the Darfur Students Association in Shambat complex/Khartoum University, mysteriously disappeared on Thursday 2 October 2014 around 8:30 pm. The student association reported Al Samani’s disappearance to the police after notifying his family. They searched for him, to no avail, in all police stations in Khartoum and NISS offices. As of this writing, his whereabouts remain unknown.

In War Affected Areas

 On 2 October 2014, the NISS in South Kordofan arrested five political activists in the city of Abu Jibaiha. They are:

  • Motaz Aljayli Mohamed Ahmed (Sherbek), 31-year-old male,
  • Mohamed Abdalghafar Saeed, 24-year-old male,
  • 3-Aldo Kampal Slyman, student at Sudan University’s Faculty of Agriculture,
  • Ahmed Adam Aljarari, Sudan university graduate,
  • Albisaly Saleh, 26-year-old male.

On 3 October, the family of three detainees held by security agencies in Kadugli, South Kordofan demanded their immediate release or bringing them to prompt and fair trials. One family member told Radio Dabanga that elements of the security forces arrested:  Karam Al din Ibrahim, 20 years old, Ahmed Ibrahim, 24 years old, and Ezzedine Ahmed, 34 years old on 18 September at a check point. They were heading to work at a gold mine in the area. They were taken to Kadugli security office where they were accused of being in possession of pictures of September 2013 protests and images of the armed movements in Darfur. The family said that the security authorities prevented them from visiting the detainees. They call upon human rights organisations to intervene for the release of their sons who they believe were beaten and tortured by the security agents.

Military Actions

South Kordofan

  • According to in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur the Sudanese government has resumed aerial bombardment in South Kordofan. The campaign reported that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) dropped in the last two weeks some 19 high explosive barrel bombs in different parts of the state largely inhabited by civilians. In SPLM-N-held areas in South Kordofan, there are . Barrel bombs are inherently indiscriminate when used in populated areas, violating international humanitarian law. Meanwhile, on 10 October, the SAF Senior Commander said: “Preparations are being made to launch offensive operations on the rebels’ position in South Kordofan state within a few days.”

Blue Nile

  • On 11 October, the Blue Nile Centre for Human Rights and Peace (BNCHRP) issued a statement expressing concern about the safety of IDPs in Blue Nile and Sudanese refugees in South Sudan. The Centre reported that in the past few days, SAF massed troops in Dandro, about 65 kilometres from the state capital Damazin, in preparations for attacks on SPLM-N-controlled area position. There are 90,000 IDPs in the SPLM-N-controlled area in addition to about 130, 000 refugees from Blue Nile in neighbouring Maban County in South Sudan. The Centre calls upon all human rights organizations, international and local, to monitor the situation in the coming days to ensure the security and safety of IDPs and refugees.

Darfur

  • On 13 October, the Commissioner of Ed Daein, the capital of East Darfur State declared a state of emergency in the city implementing a curfew from 7 pm to 7 am.  In the past months, the East Darfur state has witnessed deadly tribal violence over land and natural resources between Reizegat and Maalia, that displaced over 140, 000 people and killed hundreds. On 7 October, a state of emergency was declared in the Northern and Central states of Darfur; following South Darfur, where a state of emergency was declared in July 2014.

Freedom of Expression and Association

  • On 9 October, the NISS in Khartoum airport prevented the Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Umma Party from travelling to Cairo. Mr Abdel Al Haliem Eisa Taiman said the Sudanese authorities at Khartoum airport told him that his name is on the government travel ban list. The Sudanese authorities regularly prohibit some opposition leaders from traveling outside Sudan. In September 2014, Sideeq Yousif, Communist Party and Mohamed Al Duma, Umma Party, were prevented from traveling abroad.

Forced Eviction Case:

  • On 6 October, nine female students were arrested during a forced eviction operation from the Barracks dormitory at the University of Khartoum. These students, mostly from Darfur, couldn’t afford travel expenses to the region during holidays (Eid Al Adha holiday in Sudan from 2-6 October). The students’ request for alternative housing was rejected; the authorities (NISS, police) forced them to leave and arrested those who refused. Students from Darfur in Khartoum routinely face harsh and discriminatory treatment by the authorities, last month a group of male students were also evicted from their house and some were arrested.
  • 70 female students were arrested by the NISS in Khartoum, following their forced eviction from their student house at University of Khartoum. Shadia Al Sheikh, a student from Darfur, told a press conference on Saturday 11 October, that during the eviction from the student house they were subjected to physical, verbal and sexual abuse by elements of the security services. She revealed that 28 students have disappeared and their whereabouts remain unknown. She also confirmed that there are 13 students remaining in detention. Meanwhile, the National Students Welfare Fund (NSWF) – the government body responsible for students’ accommodation – said the female dorm building is derelict and it offered the students an alternative accommodation until the new high-rise building is complete. However, the eviction came at a critical time and it coincided with the Eid al-Adha holidays.

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