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Amnesty International Report 2005 entry on Sudan


Amnesty International Report

Released on May 25, 2005

- Republic of Sudan
- Head of state and government: Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
- Death penalty: retentionist
- International Criminal Court: signed
- UN Women’s Convention and its Optional Protocol: not signed

In Darfur in western Sudan government forces and allied militias continued to kill thousands and displace tens of thousands of people living in rural areas, especially during the first three months of 2004. Hundreds of those killed were extrajudicially executed by armed forces, military intelligence or militias. A ceasefire signed in April by the government and armed groups based in Darfur - the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - was violated by all sides. By December about 1.8 million displaced people remained in camps within Darfur or elsewhere in Sudan and more than 200,000 Darfur refugees remained in Chad. The SLA and JEM abducted people from nomad groups, attacked humanitarian convoys and reportedly executed individuals. The final protocols of the North-South peace process were signed on 31 December. During the year the ceasefire between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), led by John Garang, continued but was breached by attacks by government-supported militias around Malakal which displaced tens of thousands of people. Hundreds of people were detained without charge for political reasons by national security, intelligence and police forces; at least 100 remained in detention at the end of the year. Torture was widespread, especially in Darfur. At least three detainees died in custody in circumstances where torture appeared to have caused their death. More than 100 death sentences were imposed; executions were believed to have been carried out. Floggings were imposed for numerous offences and usually carried out immediately. Amputations, including cross-amputations, were also imposed but none was known to have been carried out in 2004. Scores of people were sentenced before specialized criminal courts in Darfur after summary and unfair trials. In areas controlled by the SPLA people were sentenced to cruel punishments such as flogging and held in cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions of detention.

Southern Sudan

Peace talks between the SPLA and the government continued intermittently during the year. In January a protocol on wealth-sharing was signed and in May three protocols on power sharing and on the resolution of conflict in the areas of Abyei, South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains, and the southern Blue Nile Province (the three so-called "marginal areas") were agreed. The power-sharing protocol contained a list of human rights and fundamental freedoms to be respected by both parties.

Despite the ceasefire and continuing peace process, fighting broke out in Bahr al-Ghazal and Upper Nile. In May, hundreds of Shilluk people were killed in Upper Nile and more than 60,000 were reportedly displaced after attacks by government-supported militias. At least 20,000 remained displaced by the end of the year. About 400,000 people displaced in previous years returned to the Bahr al-Ghazal and Equatoria regions. In areas under SPLA control detainees were reportedly sentenced to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment such as flogging after summary trials or without trial; SPLA commanders reportedly frequently overturned court decisions. Conditions for detainees constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Most prisons were simply large holes in the ground.

Crisis in Darfur

The conflict in Darfur intensified at the start of the year. Attacks were carried out by government forces, sometimes using Antonov bomber planes and helicopter gunships, and by nomad militias known as the Janjawid, armed and supported by the government. Thousands of civilians were killed and tens of thousands made homeless. Others were abducted. Hundreds of villages were destroyed or looted. Thousands of women were raped, sometimes in public, and many were taken as sexual slaves by soldiers or Janjawid militiamen. In April a Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement was signed by the Sudanese government, the SLA and the JEM in N’Djaména, Chad. Both sides breached the agreement not to target civilians.

By March, with more than one million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in camps while the government continued to restrict access to humanitarian aid, fears of a famine grew. The then UN Humanitarian Coordinator described Darfur as the "greatest humanitarian crisis of our time". In May, following intense international pressure, the government agreed to grant free access to humanitarian organizations. In July, African Union (AU) ceasefire monitors and a protection force were deployed in the main towns. In October the AU Peace and Security Council widened the mandate of the force to include protection of civilians in imminent danger but a planned increase of personnel to more than 3,000 had not been fully implemented by the end of the year.

In July and September UN Resolutions 1556 and 1564 threatened action if the government failed to disarm the Janjawid and protect civilians. However, the Janjawid remained armed and were largely incorporated into Sudanese paramilitary forces such as the Popular Defence Forces. In November Humanitarian and Security Protocols were signed in Abuja, Nigeria, by the government, the SLA and the JEM, committing them to respect international humanitarian law. However, attacks by both sides continued, causing thousands more people to be displaced. Government planes violated the agreement and bombed civilians.

Unlawful killings

Government forces and Janjawid militias carried out hundreds of extrajudicial executions.
- In March, Sudanese military intelligence and army officers and Janjawid militiamen arrested more than 135 Fur people in 10 villages in Wadi Saleh province in West Darfur state. Those arrested were detained in the village of Deleij, blindfolded and taken in groups of about 40 in army trucks to an area behind a hill near Deleij. They were reportedly told to lie on the ground and shot by about 45 members of the military intelligence and the Janjawid.

Violence against women

Armed forces and militia members raped thousands of women and tens of thousands of women suffered other violence and forced displacement in the conflict in Darfur. Women were raped during attacks and frequently abducted into sexual slavery for days or months. Women continued to be raped outside IDP camps.
- An 18-year-old woman described how after an attack on Mukjar in January about 45 women were taken from the village by soldiers and militiamen wearing military uniform and raped. She was raped by six men and given to a soldier who kept her in sexual slavery for one month in Nyala and then took her to Khartoum, where she remained for two months before escaping. The soldier was under investigation at the end of the year.
- In August, armed men in uniform, apparently from militias, reportedly raped three teenage girls gathering wood outside Ardamata IDP camp. The women reported the rape to the police who sent them for a medical examination but subsequently dropped the case.

Refugees and displaced people

The number of displaced people in Darfur more than doubled. By December about 1.8 million people were displaced within Darfur and some 200,000 were refugees in Chad.

Until May, when the government gave access to humanitarian agencies, most IDPs lacked food, water and medical aid and were constantly harassed by Janjawid militias. IDPs continued to report attacks outside camps by the Janjawid and harassment by the security and police forces. Government officials put pressure on IDPs to return to unsafe areas and police forcibly relocated IDPs at night.
- In April, a UN mission described how 1,700 IDPs, whose villages had been burnt, were confined to the town of Kailek in Shattaya district, West Darfur, without access to food or water. The town was encircled by the Janjawid who would take women to rape at night and subject men to forced labour.
- At least 40 IDPs from Abu Shouk camp in al-Fasher and Kabkabiya were arrested in July after talking to foreign delegations, including those of US Secretary of State Colin Powell and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier.
- In November, police attacked IDPs in al-Jeer in Nyala, South Darfur state, at least four times in order to empty the camp. On the night of 9-10 November they used tear gas, rubber bullets and bulldozers to drive people out in the presence of international monitors and the media.
Abuses by armed groups.
The SLA and JEM were responsible for unlawful killings, attacks on humanitarian convoys and abductions.
- In October, 18 passengers from nomad groups were taken off a bus between Niyertiti and Thur in South Darfur state by SLA members. Thirteen of those abducted were believed to have been killed.

Torture of detainees by the security forces, military intelligence and police was widespread, particularly in Darfur.

- Twelve people from Mellit, North Darfur state, arrested by the Positive Security in August were tortured to make them confess to fabricating a video tape showing rapes. Four women, Mariam Mohamed Dinar, Su’ad Ali Khalil, Su’ad al-Nur Abdel Rahman and Fatma Rahma were beaten with a belt, kicked and punched. Mariam Mohamed Dinar had her nails pulled out with pincers. Men arrested at the same time were also reportedly tortured. The charges were dropped and all were released in November.

Deaths in custody

At least three people died in custody. Torture appeared to have caused or hastened their deaths.
- Abdel Rahman Mohamed Abdel Hadi died in custody on the day of his arrest, apparently as a result of torture. He was one of nine people arrested in August by military intelligence who were reportedly tortured in the army barracks in Mellit.
- Shamseddin Idris, a Nuba student, and Abdel Rahman Suleiman Adam, a student from Darfur - both members of the Popular Congress party (an Islamist opposition to the ruling National Congress Party) arrested in September as part of a crackdown on the party - died immediately after arrest, apparently after being severely beaten. An investigation into the deaths was continuing at the end of the year.

Incommunicado detention

Political detainees, including many prisoners of conscience, continued to be held in prolonged incommunicado detention without trial under Article 31 of the National Security Forces Act.
- Six Darfuris arrested in Khartoum in February remained detained without charge and mostly incommunicado at the end of the year. One of them, 50-year-old Fur leader Ma’mun Issa Abdel Gader from Niyertiti, West Darfur, was first detained in Kober prison in Khartoum, later transferred to Dabak prison north of Khartoum, and then to the prison of Wad Medani, south of Khartoum. His family was only allowed to visit him twice.
- More than 100 Popular Congress party members were arrested in Khartoum in September, following government allegations of a coup plot. Detainees, including high-profile party members, student activists, people of Darfur origin and relatives of party members, were held incommunicado. Party leader Hassan al-Turabi was transferred from house detention, where he had been held without charge for months, to Kober prison. He had previously been released in October 2003 after two years’ detention without trial. By the end of the year some had been released and about 90 were reported to have been charged with involvement in a coup.

Human rights defenders
Human rights defenders continued to be harassed and arrested.

- Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Director of the Sudan Social Development Organization, was arrested at his home in Khartoum in December 2003 after visiting Darfur. He was subsequently charged with offences relating to crimes against the state, some carrying the death penalty. The evidence against him included public AI documents. All charges against him were dropped in August.
- Saleh Mahmud Osman, a human rights lawyer from Darfur, was arrested in February in Wad Medani and held without access to the outside world for six weeks. He was released without charge in September after seven months in detention.

Death penalty and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments

In Darfur, Specialized Criminal Courts handed down death sentences and corporal punishment after summary trials which failed to meet international fair trial standards. In Khartoum women and men continued to be brought before public order courts and sentenced to flogging for offences such as illegal sexual intercourse, breaching the dress code, selling alcohol or selling tea without a licence.
- The sentence of 100 lashes imposed on a 14-year-old pregnant unmarried girl in Nyala convicted of illegal sexual intercourse in 2003 was commuted.
- Al-Tayeb Ali Ahmad, an SLA member, was sentenced to death in January for crimes against the state, accused of participating in an attack on al-Fasher airport in 2003. He and two co-defendants, who received prison sentences, were tortured by being beaten with water pipes and sticks before their trial by al-Fasher Specialized Criminal Court and had no legal representation.
- Alakor (Madina) Lual Deng was sentenced to death by stoning in Nahud, Kordofan, for adultery. At her trial she had no defence lawyer and was sentenced to death solely on the basis of her own confession. In June the High Court of Justice upheld her appeal and quashed the sentence.

- The death sentences on 88 Rizeiqat people, including two children, imposed in July 2002 were quashed in December 2004 and they were released.

Restrictions on freedom of expression

Freedom of the press continued to be restricted. Journalists were detained and summoned for questioning by the authorities and newspapers were censored. The security forces also forced editors to withdraw articles about Darfur.
- Zuhair al-Sarraj, a journalist with the newspaper al-Sahafa,was summoned to the offices of the security services several times in November after writing an article complaining of the use of loudspeakers for the calls to prayer during Ramadan. On one occasion he was reportedly severely beaten.

- International organizations

In April the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sent a fact-finding mission to Chad and Darfur which issued two reports on killings and forced displacement in Darfur and the government’s role in these. In July the UN Secretary-General appointed a Special Representative to Sudan. UN human rights monitors were deployed in Darfur in August. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the Special Representative on Internally Displaced Persons and the UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on violence against women visited Sudan. Three Security Council resolutions were passed on Sudan. Resolution 1564 established a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate reports of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and determine whether acts of genocide had occurred.

The AU Peace and Security Council sent ceasefire monitors and a protection force to Darfur. The AU also brokered a ceasefire and peace protocols between parties to the conflict in Darfur. The African Commission sent a fact-finding mission.

European Union (EU) representatives visited Darfur. The EU maintained an arms embargo and threatened other sanctions on Sudan.

The Arab League sent a fact-finding mission to Darfur in April which drew attention to the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

AI country reports/visits
- Reports
? Sudan/Darfur: "Too many people killed for no reason" (AI Index: AFR 54/008/2004)

? Sudan/Darfur: Incommunicado detention, torture and special courts - Memorandum to the government of Sudan and the Sudanese Commission of Inquiry (AI Index: AFR 54/058/2004)

? Sudan/Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war - Sexual violence and its consequences (AI Index: AFR 54/076/2004)

? Sudan: Intimidation and denial - Attacks on freedom of expression in Darfur (AI Index: AFR 54/101/2004)

? Sudan: Civilians still under threat in Darfur - an agenda for human rights protection (AI Index: AFR 54/131/2004)

? Sudan: Arming the perpetrators of grave abuses in Darfur (AI Index: AFR 54/139/2004)
? Sudan: No one to complain to - no respite for the victims, impunity for the perpetrators (AI Index: AFR 54/138/2004)

? Sudan: What hope for the future? Civilians in urgent need of protection (AI Index: AFR 54/164/2004)

In May, AI delegates visited Sudanese refugees in Chad. In September and October AI delegates visited Khartoum and Darfur and met government officials.


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