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As Sudan enters 2012: torture, disappearance and terror the new normal

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Sudan Democracy First Group
Weekly Briefing: January 5th 2012

As Sudan enters 2012 a new phase in the struggle for democracy, peace and justice for all Sudanese people is also beginning. The NCP government is racketing up its war against expression of political and democratic dissent through disappearances and torture while continuing armed repression of its people in Darfur, South Kordofan, far North and Blue Nile. Meanwhile the international community seems increasingly ambivalent about supporting genuine transformation in Sudan, including international justice, with rumors of debt relief under contemplation and allegations of international and regional collusion in the assassination of JEM Leader Dr Khalil Ibrahim. As hundreds of thousands of Sudanese citizens are attacked and victimized across the country, and for more than two decades, the current Sudanese regime is loosening its rationale. Those who continue to support the legitimacy of the NCP regime must examine their responsibilities for the prolonging of this suffering.
 
Multiple incommunicado detentions
 
As the New Year begins, the NISS ghost houses and the secret torture cells of Khartoum north’s Kober prison are crammed with hundreds of political detainees. Exploiting the tensions created by the multiple conflicts it has sparked across Sudan, from Darfur to Southern Kordofan, to the East and the bloody displacements in the far North, the NCP is using a policy of fear to crush the dignity of its people through an intensified campaign of imprisonment, torture and disappearances. Between December 1st and 31st over five hundred Sudanese men and women were detained and tens of these are being held incommunicado.
 
Large numbers of SPLM-North political detainees in particular are being held incommunicado with no access to families, lawyers or review of their detention. Several reports talked about summary trials and executions are circulating and although the NCP has denied the allegations none of the detainees have been seen since the reports surfaced. Two friends of SDFG, Bushra Gamar a human rights activist and former director of SUDO in Darfur and Abdul -Moniem Rahama, a writer,  member of the Sudan writers union and cultural advisor in the ministry of culture in Blue Nile state, are among those detained incommunicado.
 



Targeting of University Students
 
On December 27, 2011 Mohamed Hassan Alalim a new graduate engineer was arrested form his home in Haj Youssef after he confronted Sudan presidential assistant Nafi Ali Nafi in a public forum at Khartoum university. Mohamed accused Nafi and the NCP regime of repression and corruption and talked of the luxurious lifestyle of NCP senior members, including Nafi and his family. Alalim has now disappeared and his family has had no access to him or information about his whereabouts. Many public figures indicated fear about the life of Mohamed Alalim as his arrested is connected Nafi Ali Nafi’s dark record when he headed the NISS. ( Attached to this is a video documenting the mother of Mohamed descrinbing her the arrest of her son)

Nafi Ali Nafi is a former Head of NISS during the nineties and is known to have directly tortured many Sudanese intellectuals and activists, among them Prof. Faroug Mohamed Ibrahim a physics professor who taught Dr. Nafi in Khartoum University. Nafi was also directly responsible for the torture of Dr. Ali Fadol a Sudanese  doctor who was active in the Sudan Medical Doctors Trade Union in the early nineteen  nineties. Dr. Fadol was killed during torture in NISS detention.
 
On December 28th hundreds of demonstrators from the University of Nahar Al Nile in Al-Damar were attacked by NISS militia as they were demonstrating on the streets in support of the Almanaseer people who were victimized and displaced as a result of the construction of the Merowe Dam. The Almanaseer did not receive any compensation or support despite the fact that their villages were completely flooded and destroyed. Hundreds of the community have been on strike for the last three months outside the offices of the local state authority in Al Damar (Photos of the 3 months strike are attached).
 
Since December 25th Khartoum university students have been demonstrating in support of the demands of the Almanaseer community and against the increasing cost of living. The university administration allowed central police forced to invade the university campus and to use violence against students. NISS has also become involved and 10s of students have been arrested and tortured, and permitted no access to families, lawyers or review of their detention. The administration of Khartoum University has closed its doors. Female students from Dafur, the Nuba Mountains and the Republic of South Sudan were forced to leave the university hostels, spending evening outside and many were subjected to public sexual harassment. (Photos of students strike are attached)
 
Promotion of militant political Islam
 
Traditionally the majority of Sudan’s Muslim population has drawn inspiration for their faith from the Sufi sects which were responsible for the spread of the religion in the country, without exclusion to any of Sudanese communities.  In contrast to this, the political ideology of the current regime, political Islam, is rooted in militant religious fundamentalism, built on the undermining and alienation of others.  Sufi sects with their great accommodation of different Sudanese peoples’ traditions and customs are seen as not in step with the regime’s interests. The regime has become increasingly dependent on the Fatwas of militant Islamists to undermine Sufi leaders and teachings. Indeed Fatwas of militant Islamists are gradually becoming the ideological reference points for the regime, including forming and presenting the co called Islamic Constitution Front to the President and advocating the acceptance of that draft. Most of these militants have found their way to top government and judicial/prosecutorial positions.
 
Recently three well known Sufi sect tombs—over a hundred years old—were burned and vandalized in Al Elafoon town by militant Islamic groups. These tombs are considered holy places for millions of followers of the Sufi sects. These incidents came as a great shock to the people of Sudan. Daily holy war is proclaimed against those who do not believe in militant Islam, with threats repeated in every presidential speech and the elimination of those defined as non-believers by the regime urged. Moreover the regime is also employing militant Islamists as tools of religious exclusion in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, using these hateful ideologies to legitimize the enslavement of women and the so called minorities captured in the conflict and manipulating the crime of apostasy  to persecute political and civil society activist.
 
Multiple Conflicts
 
Sudan has begun the new year, 2012, the with central government of NCP continuing its wars against its own citizens on multiple fronts of the country, namely Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, the East and across the border with the Republic of South Sudan.
 
In Darfur the assassination of Dr Khalil Ibrahim against the background of allegations of international and regional cooperation has raised questions about the opening of a new and dangerous type of politics as well as revealing a new face of international involvement in the country. SDFG is finalizing a comprehensive narrative to document and analyze the assassination of Dr Khalil Ibrhim, including positions of the international law on targeted killing,  and the assassination relationship to the interests of, and prospects for, peace and justice in the country.
 
In Southern Kordofan where over 300,000 have been severely affected by the war, shelling of markets and villages continued in the first week of the year. Aerial bombardments have also continued in Blue Nile, leaving tens of thousands of civilians without humanitarian support. The use of new types of weaponry by the Government of Sudan is a worrying indication of a potential further escalation in the intensity and nature of the conflict. At the beginning of this year long range missiles were reported to have hit Kauda, with allegations that they were Iranian made and had been launched from Kadugli, 92 kilometers away. The usage of missiles as new weaponry by the Government of Sudan demonstrates its intention to take Sudan’s civil wars to a new level, came after the success of the regime in using food as weapon by blocking humanitarian access and pushing citizens to displacement and exile. The bombardment of Yida refugee camp weeks before the New Year is clear evidence of this policy, which is revealed the intension and security strategies against the new born state of South Sudan.  Eyes and Ears News Team and SDFG will publish a video narrative later this week telling of the tragedy those citizens of South Kordfan have gone through at Yida refugee camp.
 
***
Sudan Democracy First Group: SDFG is a broad coalition of democrats and for Sudan activists, trade unionists and academics, displaced persons and public actors representing Sudan different cultural and geographic backgrounds. The main agenda of the initiative is to voice the concerns of the voiceless Sudanese people around issues of democratization and its intersection with issues of peace, justice and development. SDFG is connected and coordinated to other democratic initiatives, in addition to independent civil society. 
The Weekly Briefing is compiling and analyzing some of the major development on issue of peace, democracy, justice and human rights. For more information and reports, please visit http://democracygroup.blogspot.com

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Mahmoud A Suleiman, SudanTribune , U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese Embassy, Ibrahim Khalil, US Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, Ibrahim Magzoub Khalid Ali, Plural news and views on Sudan

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