Home | News    Thursday 30 April 2009

Sentenced to death, Darfur men face ‘horrific treatment’


April 29, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The 82 Darfuri men sentenced to death by special courts in Khartoum are being held in inhumane conditions and many have been tortured, according to a rebel group and Amnesty International.

The men were captured and imprisoned when rebels attacked Sudan’s capital city in May 2008. A group of 50 was sentenced to death during July and August 2008, 10 more on April 15, 2009, 11 on April 22, and another 11 on April 26. Lawyers for those convicted more recently have a week in which to appeal.

According to Ahmed Husain Adam, spokesperson for the Justice and Equality Movement, prisoners are being kept at ghost houses of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). He appealed for authorities to transfer the captives to “the same prisons where all suspects awaiting trial are detained.”

Adam explained that the men face "horrific treatment" at the hand of their captors, adding that many of the detainees had no role in the May 2008 assault.

“Up to eight detainees are kept in cells of 2 by 1.5 meters wide, each originally designed for one prisoner. The cells are badly ventilated and detainees have to take turn to sleep. Detainees are prevented toilet facilities between 4pm to dawn and are fed foul food and dirty water.

"This has resulted in horrendous health problems including numerous cases of kidney infections,” he said.

Local lawyers and human rights activists questioned by Amnesty International said that the men’s trials were grossly unfair, that they were deprived of legal counsel until their trials had begun, many were tortured or otherwise ill treated, and many confessed under torture.

But confessions under torture are admissible under Sudanese law, according to Article 10(i) of the Law of Evidence of 1993, which states that "… evidence is not dismissed solely because it has been obtained through an improper procedure, if the court is satisfied that it is independent and admissible." However, Amnesty International argues that the special courts used to try the men, which were set up under a 2001 law, contravene the 2005 Interim Constitution.

The detainees are prevented contacts with the outside world with the exception of a single fortnightly visit of 30 minutes, said Adam.

Amnesty International urged supporters to contact Sudanese authorities calling on them to overturn the death sentences, investigate allegations that the men were tortured, and bring those responsible to justice.

For its part, JEM responded by appealing to relevant international bodies to investigate “current maltreatment of Darfur War Captives and continuous breaches of international conventions by the Government of Sudan,” asking the UN and human rights organizations to institute regular visits to the detainees to “ensure full compliance with international conventions.”

During the period immediately following the May 2008 attack on the capital city area, there were widespread reports of arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, summary executions, questionable judicial proceedings, racial violence and restrictions on freedom of the press, all conducted by the National Intelligence and Security Service.

The captured Darfuri fighters had been one subject of preliminary negotiations between the rebel JEM and the government, before the rebels pulled out of the talks.

Nine Darfuri men claiming innocence were recently hanged April 9 at Kober prison in Khartoum-North, charged with killing a journalist. They had been held in detention for four months without contact with the outside world and bore visible signs of torture when they appeared in court.


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  • 30 April 2009 04:52, by Akol Kiir

    You raise arms against your country you’ll have to suffer the consequences.

  • 30 April 2009 05:19, by Akol Liai Mager

    Dear Akol,

    Being an enemy should not justify cruelty treatment. Also, note that, Darfurians people regardless whether they are JEMS, SLM or former Southern Sudanese killers as they were, have the same rights equal to those of Southern Sudan, Nuba Mts, S. Blue Nile and Beja in the East and deserve acknowledgement if not all sympathy with them.

    To JEM Prisoners, it was unexpected from NIF to keep them alive, though I am not sure whether they are already killedc or not. NIF never kept SPLA POWs as SPLA did keep thousands of NIF POWs.

    Human Right Watch should use their efforts to investigate the treatment of JEM POWs. Geneva Convention should be applicable for these JEM prisoners.

    I am so sorry for those who don’t have a bit of mercy, may Almighty God replant something in there hearts.

    Forgiveness is a key factor to Peace, recounciliation and coexistence and I’m sure we need it in ourselves.

    • 30 April 2009 06:46, by Nile

      it doesn’t need a scientist to figure out who Akol is, he is using south Sudanese name to get his messages across, but has failed to understand that his support for NIF/ingaz HAS revealed it all. please refrain from your baseless remarks the blood of innocent will soon prevail the reality and your King Basheer will face justice.

      • 30 April 2009 15:51, by Akol Kiir

        Do you think I’m the only Southerner supporting Bashir. It’s a shame that you have this blind support for the SPLM. Tell me one thing they’ve done for us? At least Bashir has built the North, the SPLM hasn’t even completed one project in the South.

        • 30 April 2009 18:22, by Joseph


          Your are really blind, Initially the Issue is not development Bashire is killing innocent people of Darfur.
          The current people on prison they are innocent. Think well those who attack Omdurman or Khartoum they are less then those send to death and those present in prison.

          • 2 May 2009 20:25, by darfurdaniel

            Well said. How can he think he speaks anything resembling truth and yet he never addresses the Darfur issue. Who cares about Khartoum and Bashir killing some people that tried to take khartoum (and made Khartoum look pretty stupid militarily by the way) when the real focus should be on Darfur and the senseless slaughter there day in and day out.
            Just does not make sense to avoid Darfur all the time. If Bashir is so good and wonderful pardon the women and children of Darfur. Stop killing them!

        • 2 May 2009 20:18, by darfurdaniel

          You again and your verbal nonsense. Bashir built what? You feel the North is developed do you? For the thousands and thousands that died in Darfur while he was "building the North" it would be nice to see some better infastructure or at least something that resembles civilization. Darfurs blood money really didn’t pay tribute to the fallen women and children.
          By the way will Bashir be finished soon "Building the North" as maybe when he declares its finished someone in his gov’t can call the good old boys in the Sudanese military and tell them they can stop the fighting and let the women and kids live another day in their gov’t created misery.
          You should have to live a day in an IDP camp! Never seen anything so desparate and depressing in my life and I have seen some pretty disgusting human created misery. Sudan takes the prize though. Conrats to you and your "North". Hope it was worth it.

  • 30 April 2009 20:07, by Mareng Akol Mareng

    I just wanted to narrate a proverb which says that "As you made your bed so must you not lie on it"
    But it is in one way interfering with Human Rights Internationally.

    • 2 May 2009 09:40, by James

      i support the torture that the Darfuri captives are facing because it is the same way they (darfurians)were torturing our people in southern sudan. let them face how painful it is to mistreat human being.

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