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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Sudan bars rights activist from travelling abroad

African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies

Leading Sudanese Activist Prevented from Leaving Sudan and Detained

Contact: Osman Hummaida, Executive Director

Phone: +44 7956095738

E-mail: [email protected]

(15 June 2010) In the early morning of 15 June, Albaquir Al-Afif Mukhtar was detained in Khartoum International Airport and prevented from travelling to a conference in Spain. National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents attempted to confiscate his passport, but Dr. Mukhtar refused, arguing that they had no right as it was a British passport. He was released later that morning and received consular services from the British Embassy, who are following his case and have ensured that he has legal representation. The agents ordered him to report the Political Affairs section of NISS on 17 June.

Dr. Mukhtar is the Director of the Alkhatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), as well as the Tamam network, a coalition of over 120 civil society groups who monitored the elections. On 20 May, Dr. Mukhtar was also detained at the airport while attempting to board a flight to the United Kingdom, but was subsequently allowed to travel. On that occasion, Dr. Mukhtar’s name was announced over the airport intercom to report to the Director of the Airport Hall. He was asked for his travel documents by the Manager, who made photocopies and questioned him as to his political affiliation. In February, the Nyala offices of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) were shut down following a training held in conjunction with KACE. SIHA’s staff was interrogated on its relationship with KACE and questioned about a book written by Dr. Mukhtar.

The outcome of the elections in Sudan has been followed by a serious crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists. The violation of the freedom of movement through the tactic of seizing passports was also used to prevent Salih Mahmoud Osman, Mariam Alsadig Almahadi, and Dr. Albukhari Abdalla Aljaali from travelling to the International Criminal Court’s Review Conference in Kampala. These actions have sent clear signals to the human rights community within Sudan that the space for political opposition is closing.

Arbitrary arrest and detention have been employed systematically by Sudanese authorities to intimidate civil society and the political opposition, and is often linked to further serious violations such as torture. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies condemns the use of arbitrary arrest and detention, which is a clear violation of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Freedom of movement, and in particular the right to leave any country, is a fundamental human right recognised by Article 42(2) of the Sudanese Interim National Constitution, Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies calls on the government of Sudan to respect Dr. Mukhtar’s rights to freedom of expression and movement.