Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Nine Sudanese human rights activists, including a member of an IWPR partner radio station, have been arrested by security forces in Khartoum.
The activists were detained on Saturday, October 30, by a special unit of the Sudanese security services in a raid on the offices of the Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy, HAND, in the capital.
Several organisations share the office, including the Dutch-based Radio Dabanga, with which IWPR co-produces On the Scale, a progamme raising awareness about international justice issues, broadcast to Darfur and eastern Chad.
Radio Dabanga, supported by a number of countries, and registered in the Netherlands, broadcasts news and programmes on shortwave across Sudan.
Human rights activist Abdelrahman Adam, 35, who works for Radio Dabanga, was among the nine detainees. The authorities say they suspect him of several offences, including crimes against the state. It’s unclear whether the other detainees have been formally charged.
The director of Radio Dabanga, Hildebrand Bijleveld, expressed deep concern over Abdelrahman and the other detainees, “We hope that Abdelrahman will be mentally and physically well. As a human rights activist, he is a great Darfurian who favours peaceful means to solve the conflict in Darfur. None of his activities can be considered as illegal according to Sudanese law and the constitution. We hope that the charges will be dropped and he will be released soon.”
According to the news agency Reuters, the other detainees include human rights activists who had recently returned from a youth forum at the Khatim Adlan Centre in Khartoum, where they discussed the forthcoming referendum and social peace in Darfur.
The African Center for Justice and Peace studies said in a statement that “viewed in relation to the upcoming referendum the arrests show the determination of the Sudanese government to suppress civil society during this critical time’’.
Marcel Smits, the director of IWPR’s international justice programme, said, “At this point, we are all very concerned about the wellbeing of all the Darfuris detained. We hope that Abdelrahman and the others will be released very soon so they can be quickly united with their families."
The names of the detainees who are known are:
- Abdelrahman Adam
- Abdul Rahman Mohammed al-Gasim
- Abu Gasim
- Dirar Adam Dirar
- Zakaria Yagoub
- Aisha Sardu Sharif
- Manal Mohamed Ahmed
- Aziza Ali Idriss
For further information, please contact Marcel Smits, IWPR international justice programme director.
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