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Police brutally prevent Sudanese activists from reaching rights commission

December 30 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese police and security service on Sunday attacked activists and journalists and prevented them from handing a memo to the National Human Rights Commission despite the latter willingness to receive it.

A Sudanese journalist protests against censorship in Khartoum (Photo: Reuters)

Last week, the ministry of information banned the Sudanese Studies Center for one year after a press campaign accusing different civil society groups of receiving foreign funds in a conspiracy to overthrow the regime.

To protest against the systematic restrictions imposed on the activities of Sudanese NGOs and to demand the lift of the ban against the cultural and research center, the Confederation of Civil Society Organizations decided to submit a memo to the official Human Rights body.

However, security agents in plain clothes and policemen surrounded the commission before their arrival and brutally prevented the gathering outside the building from delivering the letter.

Activists who participated in the protest told Sudan Tribune that one journalist was beaten, the police confiscated a photographer’s camera and three activists were arrested for a few hours.

They also said that the members of the security refused the demand of the commission’s chairman Amal Eltinay to allow the protester to meet them and deliver their memo.

The security men insisted that "they received high-level orders to not to allow anyone to enter the building, stressing that powers of the human rights body do not extend to the outside of the Commission’s office," said a statement released by the protesters.

The security services used to crackdown on the protests whether or not they are authorized, fearing such action may encourage others to demonstrate against the regime, as the opposition called for called for civil disobedience campaign to overthrow the regime.

Last June and July following the removal of commodity subsidies, the security forces managed to arrest hundreds of activists and closed universities and brutally quelled protests.

In a separate statement, extended to Sudan Tribune, the Human Rights Commission for the first time ever condemned the action of the security forces.

"The Commission rejects this action which is a flagrant violation of the Interim Constitution of 2005 and the National Human Rights Commission Act of 2009."

"It is further an attack on the integrity of the Commission and its immunity", the official body further stressed.

The commission underlined that t such behaviour prevents it from performing its duties and pledged to "take the necessary measures to ensure it does not recur".

(ST)