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Sudan: Release Human Rights Defenders Abdulmonim Adam and Gazi Alrayah Al-Sanhouri

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) are deeply concerned for the safety of human rights defenders Gazi Alrayah Al-Sanhouri and Abdulmonim Adam who are detained incommunicado by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The whereabouts of Mr. Al-Sanhouri are not known.

Both men are believed to have been arrested in connection with a demonstration concerning the situation in Darfur that took place at the University of Khartoum on 11 March 2014. One person died and seven others were seriously injured when the authorities fired live ammunition on the demonstration.

On 12 March 2014 at around 11pm, Mr.Gazi Alrayah Al-Sanhouri, 32 years of age and a youth activist, was arrested during an armed raid on his family home in the Al-Taeif neighbourhood of Khartoum. Armed NISS officers searched his home without showing a warrant and refused to inform his family of the reasons for the arrest or where he would be detained. His location remains unknown. Mr. Al-Sanhouri had criticised the response of the authorities to the demonstration at Khartoum University. He was also very recently released from NISS detention after being held without charge for two months between 15 December 2013 and 8 February 2014 in connection with his activism to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in South Kordofan.

On 13 March 2014 at around 3pm, youth activist and legal advocate Mr. Abdulmonim Adam was arrested by the NISS from his office in the Souq al-Arabi neighbourhood of Khartoum. He is currently detained at the NISS offices in Khartoum Bahri and has been denied access to his lawyer and family members.

Abdulmonim Adam, a prominent human rights lawyer, had been offering legal aid to students detained in connection with the demonstration at Khartoum University on 11 March. The demonstration followed a public forum organised the same day by the Darfur Students Association at the University of Khartoum in protest of the escalating violence and increased insecurity in South Darfur. On conclusion of the forum, the students peacefully marched to the main university gates, where NISS agents, police and student militias fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition at them, killing one student and seriously injuring seven others.

“The government of Sudan must put an end to this unacceptable trend of targeting human rights defenders, including student activists”, said Mr. Hassan Shire, Executive Director of EHAHRDP. “It should protect them and create a safe environment for them to carry out their crucial role promoting and protecting human rights.”

“The Sudanese authorities must guarantee the safety of Gazi Alrayah Al-Sanhouri and Abdulmonim Adam; the two men must immediately be granted access to their families and lawyers”, said Osman Hummaida, Executive Director of ACJPS. “Instead of silencing human rights defenders, the authorities must investigate and deliver justice to the victims of serious human rights violations taking place throughout the country”.

EHAHRDP and ACJPS call on the Sudanese authorities to immediately release Mr. Abdulmonim Adam and Mr. Gazi Alrayah Al-Sanhouri in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards and order an immediate and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force by its security services at the University of Khartoum on 11 March 2014.