Human Rights worldwide
Arbitrary Arrest and Harassment of United Popular Front (UPF) Students inThe Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) is deeply
concerned about the arrest of three Darfuri students by the National Intelligence and
Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on Tuesday, 11 May 2010. The students were
arrested in their house in Al-Haj Yousif suburb of Khartoum North. Around 3:00 am on
11 May 2010 about 14 heavily armed NISS agents raided the house owned by Mr. Adam
Ali (55 years old), and arrested Mr. Mohamed Adam Ali (26 years old), Mr. Abubaker
Omer Ahmed (25 years old) and Mr. Hafiz Adam Ali (16 years old).
Mohammed Adam is an MA student, University of Khartoum, and a well-known student
activist. He is originally from Zalengie town in Western Darfur State. Mr. Abubaker
Omer Ahmed is a student at Omdurman Islamic University (Faculty of Arts). He also
works for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zalengie Office and at the time of his
arrest he was visiting Khartoum to sit for the mid-term examination. Mr. Hafiz Adam is
the youngest brother of Mohammed Adam. He is a high secondary school student. The
three students were awaked in the early hours of the day when the NISS stormed their
room. They were taken under gunpoint into a security vehicle and driven to an unknown
place of detention.
Mr. Hafiz Adam was released few hours later in the same day. He informed his family
that all of them were taken to an unknown place and that they were severely tortured and
interrogated about the activities of the United Popular Front (UPF). Hafiz Adam was
only released because of his young age. Mr. Mohamed Adam Ali and Mr. Abubaker
Omer Ahmed were taken to yet another unknown place. Their families were not
Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)
Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) Field Violations Report No.10
informed about their whereabouts or allowed to communicate with them. There are
serious fears about the safety and personal integrity of these two students.
The United Popular Front (UPF) is a political pressure group founded in November
2004 by a group of University students from Darfur. UPF was created as response to the
deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in Darfur. UPF is accused by the
government of Sudan of forging links with the insurgent Sudan Liberation Movement
(SLA)-led by Mr. Abdel Wahid Al Nour. UPF activities are supported by many
followers in Darfur especially among the IDP populations. UPF has branch Offices in a
number of Universities and Higher Education Institutions both in Khartoum and in the
major towns of Darfur.
UPF members have been accused systematically of supporting an armed movement,
propagating foreign agendas, strengthening ties with Israel and leading anti-National
Congress Party political activities. Tens of UPF members especially students were
arrested by the NISS since 2006. At present there are at least 9 UPF student members
held in prison for more than one year without charges or trial.
A UPF member and student leader at University of Khartoum late Mr. Mohammed
Musa was arrested and reportedly tortured to death in February 2010 in Khartoum. His
dead body was found in Omdurman two days after he was abducted from the University
campus in Omdurman by armed NISS agents. No serious investigations of this murder
case have been carried out by police of the judiciary so far and the case is expected to be
closed for lack of evidence.
An example to illustrate this situation is the case of Mr. Abdul-Salam El-Sheikh Ahmed,
a UPF member held in government custody since 2009. Abdul-Salam has been moved
on many occasions between Dabak and Kober prisons to prevent his family from
visiting him. His brother reported to HAND that the family could not meet Abdul-Salam
for about five months and his family in El-Geneina, Western Darfur State does not know
whether he is still alive or killed. The family of Abdul-Salam is worried about the
incommunicado detention of their son and have serious doubts about his safety and
personal integrity as the NISS continues to deny them the right of visit and that the last
time they were allowed to see him was in December 2009.
HAND condemns the ongoing campaign of arbitrary arrests, assassination, torture and
harassment and incommunicado detention of UPF members in Khartoum and Darfur.
The deliberate attacks by NISS against UPF members represent serious violations of the
right to freedom of expression and association that are historically enjoyed by University
Students in Sudan. This aggressive campaign is discriminatory in nature as it targets
Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) Field Violations Report No.10
certain students from Darfur because of their ethic, tribal and political affiliations. These
draconian measures represent blatant violations of Sudan’s obligations under regional
and international human rights treaties to which the Sudan is a state party.
HAND therefore calls upon the international community and the national and regional
human rights groups and activists to raise their concerns about the brutal human rights
violations against UPF members and provide protection for them. HAND calls for the
immediate release of Mr. Mohamed Adam Ali and Mr. Abubaker Omer Ahmed without
delay. All students from Darfur that are currently in government custody should be
released without delay or produced before court of justice. Hand also calls upon the
government of Sudan to put an immediate end to its campaign of harassment against
students from Darfur. We also call on the government to commence genuine
investigation of the killing of Mohammed Musa and bring those responsible for it to
GÜLER ZERE IS IMMORTAL!
ILL PRISONERS HAVE TO BE RELEASED!
Today, Saturday 8th March 2010, 1000 people marched in Taksim/Istanbul to demand the freedom for ill prisoners. This action, which was started with the freedom campaign for cancer-ill Guler Zere still continues for 41 weeks already.
This week the protest march was held behind the banner “Guler Zere is Immortal”.
Guler Zere, who suffered from a mouth cancer while remaining in Elbistan prison has died yesterday Friday, 7th March, at 3.50 p.m. MEZ. There was a long struggle with big solidarity all around Turkey and international.
Her disease was diagnosted very late and her treatment was prevented by the prison authorities for a long period. She received “treatment” in a bad ventilated prison room at the hospital and was condemned to death.
Only the organized struggle of several organizations and institutions led to her freedom. But she couldn’t get cured from her illness and fell martyred on 7th May at her house in Kücükarmutlu/Istanbul.
The weekly action, carried out by various democratic mass organizations in Istanbul concurred with the death of Guler. The masses marched behind a banner saying “Guler Zere is Immortal”, showing the picture of Guler.
The people shouted the slogans “The murderer of Guler is the AKP-government”, “Guler Zere is Immortal”, “The murderous state will give account”, “The ill prisoners have to be released” and “No to Isolation”.
The march, which continued until the Galatasaray High School, stopped before the library “Mephisto”, where the people made a sit-in. During the sit-in the masses sang the march “There’s no death for us” on behalf of all revolutionary martyrs. After the song the people marched towards Galatasaray High School and hang up the big banner to the iron railings.
In a statement, which was read by the representative of People’s Front, Ozgur Aydin, it was said: “Thanks to the voices, who cried for the freedom through these streets for many weeks, and who came from all the country and even from outside, we could free Guler Zere, who fought with a deadly illness… But the freedom which was awarded to Guler, was the freedom to die outside prison. The forensic medical institute, which is a center of crime, published a report for Guler only at the final stage. It hasn’t assured her to live, but it just let her out, shortly before dead”. Finally it was said, that ‘Guler Zere was killed by the AKP and by the forensic medical institute, which has stained its hands with blood’.
The statement was ended with the words: “We will demand accountability from the AKP and the forensic medical institute”.
At the end of the action, the organizers issued a call for the funeral of Guler Zere, which will take place tomorrow Sunday, 9th May. After the ceremony, Guler will be transferred to her hometown Elazig.
Syrian political activist Ahmed Mustafa Ben-Mohammed, usually known by his pen name of Pir Rostom, was released on bail on 27 April.
SYRIAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST RELEASED ON BAIL
Pir Rostom continues to await possible referral for trial on charges such as inciting sectarian and racial strife. It is believed that these relate to articles written by him that were published online. Amnesty International believes that Pir Rostom is no longer at imminent risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
Pir Rostom was arrested on 7 November 2009 (previously stated as being on 5 November) at his home in the town of ‘Afreen, near Aleppo, shortly after his return from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where he had lived for two years. According to a source in Syria, he was held incommunicado for over three months. For most of this time, he was detained in Political Security branches in the cities of Aleppo and Damascus, but he was also held for 10 days in Palestine branch, a Military Intelligence-run detention centre in Damascus well-known for torture. According to Amnesty International’s source, while held in the Political Security branch in Damascus, Pir Rostom spent around 50 days in solitary confinement.
Pir Rostom was transferred to Aleppo Central Prison on 19 January, where he was allowed visits by his family and lawyer. He was also allowed access to medication for a stomach ulcer and a kidney infection.
Lebanon: Prosecute Villagers Who Lynched Murder Suspect
Killing of Family Does Not Justify Mob Violence
(Beirut, May 6, 2010) – The Lebanese authorities should prosecute those involved in the mob killing on April 29, 2010, of Muhammad Msallem, an Egyptian suspected of murdering four people in Ketermaya, a village in the Shouf mountains, Human Rights Watch said today. The justice minister announced on April 30 that the authorities had identified 10 of those who took part in the mob killing, but security forces have not arrested anyone.
“Nothing can justify mobs taking the law into their own hands, not even the horrible murder of the Abu Merhi family,” said Nadim Houry, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Lebanese authorities are facing a test: if they don’t reassert the rule of law by prosecuting those who killed a suspect who was entitled to the presumption of innocence, the law of the jungle will have won the day.”
Yusef Abu Merhi, his wife, Kawthar, and their two granddaughters, Amina, 9, and Zeina, 7, were found murdered in their home on April 28. The Internal Security Forces (ISF) detained Msallem, an Egyptian who lived in a neighboring home, after they reported finding a bloodstained shirt and knife in his house. According to police leaks to the media, he reportedly confessed to the crime that evening.
On April 29, the police set off for the Abu Merhi home with Msallem, with the intention of having him re-enact the crime. When they arrived in the village, residents overpowered the seven policemen who accompanied Msallem and beat and stabbed him.
The security forces managed to extricate Msallem and drove him to the nearby Sibline Hospital, but the mob followed. According to media reports, the mob removed Msallem from the emergency room and killed him after overwhelming the police. They then stripped him to his underwear and hanged his body from an electrical post in the village square.
President Michel Sleiman, Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, and Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar all strongly denounced the killing of Msallem and promised a crackdown.
"Whatever the feeling of the villagers, nothing can justify this type of reaction," Najjar said on a local television station. "We have the names of at least 10 people who took part in this horrible crime, and the courts must now do their work. No state of law can condone what happened."
Public Prosecutor Said Mirza confirmed that judicial authorities had received the names of 10 people suspected of being implicated in the mob violence. The suspects were recognized after video footage of the crime aired on television stations. Mirza said investigations were proceeding to identify the remaining suspects.
Baroud also criticized the way that the Internal Security Forces (ISF) had handled the situation. The National News Agency reported that the commander of the ISF, General Ashraf Rifi, took disciplinary measures against a number of ISF personnel for their “grave error in underestimating the situation and not providing necessary and sufficient protection for the murder suspect.” However, Najjar said on May 4 that none of the officers had been arrested. Human Rights Watch urged the Lebanese authorities to investigate the ISF’s failure to protect the suspect and to develop new guidelines to ensure that suspects are protected from retaliatory violence.
No one has been charged or taken into custody in connection with Msallem’s murder. One Ketermaya resident told Human Rights Watch that he blamed the security forces for bringing the suspect back to the village when the villagers’ “sorrow and anger were still boiling.” Another villager said that justice had been served: “He killed an innocent family and now the village made him pay for it.”
The National News Agency reported on April 30 that a police forensics team confirmed that DNA tests from Msallem’s shirt and knife show that the blood belongs to the four victims.
“The question is one of law and due process,” Houry said. “Msallem deserved to have his day in court like any other suspect, not to be killed by a mob when he was in the custody of the authorities.”
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Lebanon, please visit:
For more information, please contact:
In Beirut, Nadim Houry (English, Arabic, French): +961-1-447833; +961-3-639244 (mobile)