(31st August, 2017) SUDO (UK) welcomes the release and cancellation of all charges against six Sudanese human rights defenders pursuant to the criminal case 22/2017, though remains concerned that one individual still possibly faces charges in a separate trial.
Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Hafiz Idris, Mubarak Adam Abdullah, Abdulmukhlis Yousef Ahmed Ali, Abdelhakam Yousef Mohamed Nour and Tasneem Ahmed Taha, were all recipients of a pardon issued by President Omar Al-Bashir on 29th August, 2017.
Since the arrest of Hafiz Idris on 24th November 2016, over nine months ago, numerous human rights violations have been committed against the six and others detained in relation to the case, including torture, harassment, arbitrary detention, and violations of the right to a fair trial with the aim of prolonging their detention and punishing those involved in work pertaining to human rights and development.
Though released through a presidential pardon, it is clear the authorities lacked evidence of any criminal wrongdoing. They failed to press charges against the individuals until 11th May 2017, some five months after their arrest, whilst no evidence was produced to substantiate the charges in three court sessions held one month from one another.
SUDO (UK) remains concerned over the failure to release Hafiz Idris and the reported decision of the prosecution to maintain charges against him in relation to the criminal case 23/2017, alongside seven other individuals from Darfur. The eight persons related to this case are expected to be released on bail imminently after being detained for over nine months without trial.
Cases 22/2017 and 23/2017 are yet more examples of the abuse of the judicial system and the use of criminal charges to silence human rights defenders in Sudan. From May 2016 to March 2017, members and associates of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS) were imprisoned and subject to a trial shrouded in irregularities before wrongly being convicted. There will no doubt be further such cases until the Government of Sudan and the security apparatus cease to view civil society as a threat to national security and instead as an ally to improve security and to further peace and development in Sudan.
The eight individuals still facing charges pursuant to case 23/2017 are as follows: