Islamic Human Rights Commission
URGENT ALERT: SUDAN 13th March 2001
The Sudanese government has begun a wide scale series of arrests against members of the Popular National Congress Party following the arrest of Dr Hassan al Turabi on the 23 February 2001. So far sources have reported the arrest of 95 PNC officials in Khartoum and several other provinces whilst the authorities are still looking for 19 PNC members. IHRC has been particularly concerned about a recent development in which it was reported that a driver was detained and brutally beaten up in the search for one of the PNC members.
On 19 February 2001 Dr Hassan al- Turabi’s party, the Popular National Congress (PNC) signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army of Southern Sudan, in Switzerland. Dr Turabi was not actually present in Switzerland at the time of the signing of the memorandum between the PNC and the SPLA. The two signatories for the PNC were Omar Ibrahim al Turabi, Dr Hassan al-Turabi’s nephew and Al Mahboub Abdel Salaam.
This memo called for the Sudanese government to lift the existing state of emergency in place since December 1999, to allow political freedoms and freedom of press and the release of all political detainees. The pact also called for peaceful resistance against President Omar al-Beshir.
On the evening of Wednesday 21th February Dr Turabi was arrested at his home in Khartoum, where he was told by a policeman that he would have to explain himself in relation to the “memorandum of understanding”. Beshir was quoted as calling the pact “a violation of law” and that the government would “not tolerate such acts”.
In the Friday 23rd February prayer sermon at Khartoum University mosque the PNC Information Secretary Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa said the signing of the document was for “the sake of Islam rather than power”. It intended to stop the ongoing civil war that the SPLA had been fighting against the Sudanese government since 1983. The university subsequently came under riot police occupation; the aim to restrict attempts made by the students to protest against the arrest of Dr Turabi.
The arrest of Dr Turabi has been followed by the arrests of several high ranking PNC officials. Dr Turabi is currently being held in solitary confinement in Khartoum’s Cooper prison.
Please write to the following addresses expressing your concern for the Sudanese detainees, and demanding their immediate release.
Please also send letters to Robin Cook MP reminding him that he has a duty to raise this issue with the Sudanese counterpart. Also, please remind him of the Labour Party pledge to have “launched a global programme to challenge torture and to help its victims, and established a human rights fund within the FCO to assist those in the frontline of the campaign, against torture, ill-treatment and human rights violations.”
British Foreign Secretary,
Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP
King Charles Street
Addresses of Sudanese Ministers
Please write to the Sudanese Ministers requesting they immediately intervene on behalf of the detainees and stop the persecution of the PNC members.
Dr Ahmed Elmufti
The Advisory Council on Human Rights of the Government of Sudan
P O Box 302
Tel: 00 249 11 779 173
Liet General Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashier Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
The President 3 Cleveland Row
The Republican Palace St James’s
P O Box 281 SW1A 1DD
Sudan Tel: 0207 839 8080
Fax: 0207 839 7560
Staff Fax: 00 249 11 779 977
President’s Advisor on Ta’asil (Isalamic affairs)
Prof Ahmed Ali Al Iman
Address; As above
Fax: 00 249 11 777 247
Ambassade du Sudan
56 Avenue Montaigne
Tel: 01 42 25 55 71/73/76
Fax: 01 45 63 66 73
Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
2210 Massachusettes Ave NW
Washington Dc 20008
Tel: 202 338 8565
Fax; 202 667 2406
Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
354 Stewart Street
Tel: 613 235 4000/4999
Fax: 613 235 6880