KHARTOUM – Sudanese security authorities should immediately release people arbitrarily detained since the military takeover on October 25, 2021, two human rights groups said on Monday.
“Security authorities should also cease further arbitrary arrests and stop using unnecessary, including lethal, force in response to peaceful protests,” Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint press statement.
From the early hours of October 25, according to the human rights group, security agents in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, detained at least 30 civilian political leaders, including six of the country’s cabinet members.
On the same day, the rights groups said, the army also detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and two days later placed him under house arrest.
“Over the last two weeks the military has resorted to its well-trodden and brutal tactics, undermining small but important progress on rights and freedoms that Sudanese from all walks of life have fought for,” said Mohamed Osman, Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The military should immediately free all those arbitrarily detained over the last two weeks and end all illegal detentions, including enforced disappearances, by the military,” he added.
The two human rights groups also accused Sudanese security of using heavy-handed measures to repress peaceful protests against the military takeover.
“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented unwarranted use of lethal force by security authorities in their efforts to counter the many protests that erupted in Khartoum,” the group further stated.
“At least 14 people have been killed by live ammunition in Khartoum since October 25 according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors,” it added.
Meanwhile, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) said that security authorities detained more than 30 people including ministers, advisers to the prime minister, and journalists, between October 25 and 27.
ACJPS is a renowned South Sudanese human rights organisation.
“Since October 25, internet and telecommunications have been repeatedly disrupted, limiting people’s access to timely and accurate information, infringing on people’s ability to express political views, and restricting reporting on rights issues, including about detentions, especially outside Khartoum,” said the human rights entity.
Among those arbitrarily arrested, ACJPS said in the statement, is Cabinet Affairs Minister Khalid Omar Youssef, who was detained by a group of security agents in front of his family in a dawn raid on his house on October 25.
Under international law, human rights groups argued, when anyone is detained by state forces and their detention is either not acknowledged or the person’s whereabouts is concealed, placing them outside the protection of the law, this is an enforced disappearance.
Enforced disappearances, it further stressed, is forbidden in all circumstances.
According to human rights groups, despite regional and international calls on the military to halt the crackdown, abuses continue. On November 7, for instance, security forces, including police and the military, reportedly violently dispersed a sit-in called by the teachers’ association in northern Khartoum.
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