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President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
PO Box 281
Your Excellency President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir,
Amnesty International is concerned with the arbitrary arrest and continued incommunicado detention of 47 students of Darfur origin who were arrested in three raids on their homes in Sinnar and Khartoum states on 23 and 27 December 2018. One student, Salih Yagoub Omer, was killed during the raids.
In press conferences on 23 and 28 December 2018, the government accused the students of infiltration, association with a rebel group, and of planning to kill protesters in the ongoing protests in the country. At each of the press conferences on national television, videos were aired showing the students allegedly incriminating themselves as being associated with the Sudan Liberation Movement (Abdelwahid Nour), and of planning to kill protesters and cause chaos.
The circumstances around which the alleged confessions were aired and the fact that they were made without any of the students having a lawyer present suggests that the confessions may have been obtained through torture and other ill-treatment. This is a violation of the Sudanese Criminal Procedures Act 1991, and against international standards.
I urge you to use your leadership position to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of the 47 students detained solely for exercising their human rights; that the students are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, while in detention, and that they are given access to family visits and lawyers of their choosing. I also urge you to ensure Sudanese authorities conduct an independent, effective and transparent investigation into the arbitrary arrest and the forced confessions of the students; and thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the killing of Salih Yagoub Omer during the raid on 27 December 2018.