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Amnesty International calls on Khartoum to release 171 detainees.

June 5, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Amnesty International (AI) has called for launching appeals to secure the release of 171 detainees including college students, politicians and civil society activists arrested by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

AI said it has received numerous reports since the end of Sudan's general elections in April 2015 that the NISS crackdown on activities of political opposition groups and civil society has intensified.

"In recent weeks more than 221 students from Darfur were arrested by NISS and the police after violent clashes between the National Congress Party (NCP) student supporters and students from Darfur in five universities in Khartoum," it said in a press release.

According to the rights groups, 157 students were released on bail after having been charged with various crimes while 37 students were injured.

Mohamed Awad, a leading member of the NCP student organisation, was killed during clashing between supporters of the ruling party and students from Darfur region at the East Nile University in Khartoum North last April.

It added that currently there are 12 members of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) in detention, saying that four of them are facing criminal charges punishable by death including complicity to execute a criminal agreement, undermining the constitutional system and calling for opposition of the public authority by violence or criminal force.

It also pointed out to the arrest of the secretary general of the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society (SCPS), Yasir Merghani, and the activist, Nasreen Ali Mustafa, who have been detained since 25 May.

It noted that Merghani has always been known for his strong presence on issues pertaining to consumers and corruption in the importation of goods, saying that Mustafa has raised concerns about the alarmingly high number of unreported incidents of sexual harassment and abuse in some schools buses in Khartoum state.

It should be recalled that NISS had seized copies of 10 newspapers from the printing press and suspended 4 of them indefinitely on 25 May for publishing Mustafa's statements.

The SCPS was formally established in 1998, it has been very vocal on consumer rights issues and corruption in regards to consumer goods. SCPS has been advocating for strong consumer protection legislation in Sudan.

AI stressed that NISS maintains broad powers of arrest and detention under the National Security Act 2010, which allows suspects to be detained for up to four-and-a-half months without judicial review.

"NSS officials often use these powers to arbitrarily arrest and detain individuals and to subject them to torture and other forms of ill-treatment", it said Under the same law, NSS agents are provided with protection from prosecution for any act committed in the course of their work, which has resulted in a pervasive culture of impunity.

The rights group further said the recent constitutional amendments passed by the Sudanese parliament on 5 January 2015, have exacerbated the situation, stressing they accorded sweeping powers to the NISS allowing it unlimited discretion to interfere in political, economic and social issues.

It called for sending appeals to president Omer al-Bashir and ministers of interior and justice to reveal the whereabouts of the detainees immediately and urge them to either charge the detainees with an internationally recognizable offence or immediately and unconditionally release them.

The rights group also said the appeals should call on the authorities to give the detainees access to lawyers of their own choosing and allow them visits from their families besides ensuring they are not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

(ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jun 6, 2015
Words:593
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