Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 11 April 2018

Don’t be taken in by Sudan prisoner release

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

by Jehanne Henry

Today, Sudan president Omar al-Bashir ordered the release of “political detainees”, welcome news for 60 or so men who have languished behind bars for weeks. But it is also a grim reminder of a defining feature of Sudan’s political landscape: the periodic mass arrest and detention of opposition leaders to silence them whenever they threaten to speak out.

These latest detentions – in a long history of similar detentions – were part of a crackdown that started in January to stifle opposition-led protests over new budget and austerity measures. Police and national security agents arrested hundreds of people, during protests or from homes, offices, or off the streets, and held them without charge or access to lawyer or family visits.

While authorities released some in following weeks, they kept many dozens locked up for weeks, mostly in Khartoum. Many of the detainees, like economist Sidqi Kabalo, are elderly, life-long leaders in Sudan’s Communist Party; others belong to other opposition parties and movements or, like lawyer Salih Mahmoud, are known rights activists. Mahmoud has received the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov prize, and an award from Human Rights Watch, for his work on Darfur.

Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur, might hope this move will appease international onlookers. The UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on Sudan is due to visit the country later this week. A well-timed prisoner release could help burnish his image.

Sudan has done some clever politicking on the international stage recently. Along with promises to cooperate on counterterrorism and downshift its civil wars, it succeeded in convincing the US to lift economic sanctions last year. In addition, through cooperation with the EU, it received hundreds of millions of Euros for projects to stem migration – support which frankly further empowers the notoriously abusive Rapid Support Forces, who committed grave crimes in Darfur and elsewhere.

Beyond insisting on the release of everyone arbitrarily detained, onlookers should insist on the radical reform of Sudan’s national security body, the National Intelligence and Security Service. With broad powers of arrest and detention up to four-and-a-half-months, NISS’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees is well documented. We have repeatedly documented harsh conditions of extreme heat or cold, beatings, electrocution, verbal, and other abuses.

Whatever his motivations, al-Bashir does not deserve congratulations. The release of political detainees is not a gift or a political concession, but a basic obligation of respect for fundamental principles of human rights and rule of law.

Jehanne Henry is a team leader in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division.



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.



Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


South Sudan and the inhumanity of the death penalty 2019-02-20 12:35:43 By Kur Ayuen Kou I am deeply appalled by the continuous use of the death penalty as the best form of punishment in our fractured society. In a span of one week, South Sudan has carried out six (...)

Evidence suggests inevitable victory of the 3rd Sudanese Revolution 2019-02-20 12:24:17 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This is Third Sudanese Revolution, which broke out in December 2018, and has been going on for the Sixty Two days without a pause is worthy of Triumphant Victory. It is as (...)

Sudan’s December Revolution is not an Arab Spring 2019-02-16 08:14:10 By Mubarak Ardol Why the Sudanese have decided to put an end to the regime which has ruled them for three decades. Why is this happing now? It is known that Mr Bashir came to power in Sudan by (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)

CEPO: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Stop politics of split and focus on R-ARCSS implementation 2018-12-26 09:53:29 26th December, 2018. South Sudan Opposition Alliance internal leadership change frication is disturbing and demoralizing public opinion. The big question CEPO is raising, will SSOA be a strong (...)

Progress observed at end of second month of R-ARCSS implementation 2018-10-22 06:44:02 Press Release 21 October 2018 South Sudanese government released 24 detainees in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.