Sudanese Security Forces Kill 10 Protesters in Latest Use of Excessive Force

News
August 2, 2012

Sudanese Security Forces Kill 10 Protesters in Latest Use of Excessive Force

Many Dead Were Teenagers Protesting High Fuel Costs and the Cost of Living

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- Amnesty International said today Sudan must immediately suspend security forces that fired live ammunition into a crowd of mostly teenage demonstrators protesting high fuel costs, killing 10 individuals on Tuesday. The human rights organization said it was also concerned that wounded protesters were denied medical treatment and that injured demonstrators were arrested.

Central Reserve Police – a combat-trained paramilitary police - and agents of the National Security Services (NSS) opened fire on a crowd protesting fuel prices and the cost of living in Nyala, South Darfur.

"Any individual members of the security forces involved in the events that caused this bloodbath must be suspended immediately," said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International’s Africa program director.

Many of the protesters killed were high school students and at least eight had bullet wounds in their chests, some inflicted at close range. Dozens more present at the demonstration were injured.

Medical staff at Nyala Public Hospital told Amnesty International that the wounds inflicted on the eight bodies admitted to their morgue were consistent with those caused by 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic rifles.

The security forces also fired Dushka-type heavy machine-guns in the air, which injured residents in their homes as bullets fell from the sky.

"The Sudanese government must investigate why protesters were directly targeted by the security force personnel who opened fire on them with live bullets," Rigaud said.

The Sudanese authorities have routinely used excessive force against mostly peaceful demonstrations occurring regularly in Sudan’s major cities since mid-June. Police forces have been reported to use batons, tear gas and rubber bullets at close range against demonstrators.

According to the United Nation’s Basic Principles of the Use of Force, live ammunition should not be used, either directly against demonstrators or as warning shots, unless it is absolutely necessary and only after less extreme means have proved ineffective.

The security forces also fired Dushka-type heavy machine-guns in the air, which injured residents in their homes as bullets fell from the sky.

"The Sudanese security forces must not be allowed to police demonstrations in such a reckless manner and with flagrant disregard for human life," Rigaud said. "Sudanese citizens must be allowed to express their opinion peacefully without experiencing systematic repression. Attacks against peaceful protesters are an unacceptable violation of their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. "

Amnesty International is also concerned that injured protesters may have been denied medical care following eyewitness reports of deployment of plain clothes NSS personnel within Nyala General Hospital and the arrest of injured protesters.

Amnesty International has documented a pattern in recent weeks of injured protesters being denied medical treatment in Khartoum.

In response to the protest movement, the NSS also arrested hundreds of known political and civil society activists, regardless of their involvement in demonstrations. Many told Amnesty International they had been tortured with sticks, water hoses and fists, and made to stand under the scorching sun all day. Dozens of activists remain in administrative detention today.

In some cases, individuals who had been injured in demonstrations or as a result of torture and ill-treatment by security forces told Amnesty International that they preferred not to seek treatment in hospitals because they feared arrest and intimidation.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.