Annual Report: Sudan 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Sudan 2011

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  • Mohammed Moussa Abdallah Bahr El Din, a student at the University of Khartoum's Department of Education, was seized by NISS agents on 10 February. His body was found a day later in Khartoum with signs of torture, reportedly including cuts and burns on his hands and feet. A postmortem confirmed the signs of torture. No independent investigation was initiated into his death.
  • Between 30 October and 3 November, 13 people were arrested by the NISS in Khartoum, including a lawyer, a journalist and a number of youth activists. In December, family members were allowed to visit some of them in prison but the detainees still had no access to lawyers. All were of Darfuri origin.

Freedom of expression - prisoners of conscience

Between May and August, the NISS resumed its pre-print censorship of the press in the north and closed down a number of newspapers. Some were not allowed to go to print for the entire duration of the censorship. Journalists were arrested because of their work.

In south Sudan, journalists also suffered harassment and arbitrary arrest, particularly because of their coverage of the elections. Security forces and SPLA soldiers arrested and used violence against journalists as well as election monitors and members of the opposition. Voters were also harassed and intimidated in voting polls in the south.

  • Rai Al Shaab, a newspaper affiliated to the opposition Popular Congress Party, was closed down in May and five staff members were arrested. In July, Abuzar Al Amin, deputy editor-in-chief, was sentenced to five years in prison while Ashraf Abdelaziz, one of the newspaper's editors, and Al Tahir Abu Jawhara, head of the political news desk, were sentenced to two years. The journalists were reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention.
  • On 23 April, Bonifacio Taban Kuich, a presenter with the radio station Bentiu FM, was arrested by the security forces in Bentiu hospital. He was reporting on a protest against the results of the local elections in Unity State, during which police reportedly shot into the crowd, killing two people and injuring four. Bonifacio Taban Kuich was allegedly beaten and interrogated about his work. He was released without charge on 6 May.

Cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments

The public order police continued to arrest women, young girls and men in the north, on grounds of "indecent" or "immoral" dress or behaviour, and courts carried out numerous flogging sentences during the year. More restrictions on public behaviour were introduced and the public order police reportedly formed committees to determine criteria for arresting people on the basis of "indecent" public behaviour or dress.

Before the April elections, President Al Bashir reiterated his commitment to the public order regime, the set of laws and structures that allow for detentions and floggings in north Sudan. The public order police continued to blackmail women and sexually harass them during arrest and in detention and to target women from vulnerable backgrounds, including women living in poverty, IDPs and women from Eritrean and Ethiopian communities living in Khartoum.