Sudan security forces targeting rights workers: AI

[JURIST] The National Security Services in Sudan (NISS) are brutally suppressing internal dissent and targeting rights workers in the process, according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF; press release] issued Monday. AI documented cases of arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances and death at the hands of the NISS. The suppression of dissent also includes heavy censorship of the press, with NISS agents making daily visits press and printing offices in order to intimidate and influence the content printed in publications. AI contends that under the 2010 National Security Act the NISS retains extensive powers of arrest and detention, and maintains a "culture of impunity" for human rights violations. AI maintains that the current state of the act shows that it, "remains faithful to the government's vision of the national security force as a body whose function is to maintain it in power, including by repressing the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression." The report calls for an immediate reform of the 2010 National Security Act and urges the Sudanese government to reduce the role of the NISS to information gathering and analysis. AI has also recommended that the country end impunity for those committing human rights violations and provide redress to the victims and their families.

AI's report was released one week after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [case materials; JURIST news archive] was charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] with three counts of genocide [warrant, PDF; JURIST report] in relation to the Darfur conflict [BBC backgrounder]. The charges included "genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction." They were issued after the Appeals Chamber reversed a prior decision [JURIST report] by the lower chamber denying the prosecutor's request for genocide charges. ICC prosecutors appealed the decision [JURIST report] not to charge al-Bashir with genocide in July 2009. Bashir has eluded arrest since the issuance of the first warrant. The warrant has been controversial, with Egypt, Sudan, the African Union and others calling for the proceedings against Bashir to be delayed, and African Union leaders agreeing [JURIST reports] not to cooperate with the warrant.

 

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