Sudanese security forces seized at least 65 people from their homes and workplaces in the last week of January, as part of a widening crackdown aimed at breaking the protest movement which continues to push for civilian rule. According to Sudanese activists and independent media reports, among those detained are lawyers, doctors, political activists and members of the Resistance Committees and school students. Many of those arrested initially ‘disappear’, seized by masked and armed men and taken away to unknown locations.
Feminist activist detained
Amira Osman is a prominent women’s rights activist and a member of the “Alriyadh” neighbourhood resistance committee in Khartoum. Amira was arrested on Saturday 22 January when around 30 masked men in civilian clothes raided her house. They blocked both streets leading to her home where she lives with her sisters and elderly mother. They also closed down the shops preventing anyone from walking in or out of that street terrorising everyone in the vicinity with batons and firearms. The men tore through closed doors including the bathroom door where Amira was at the time trying to get dressed and they refused to leave the room.
Amira is partially paralysed after an accident a few years ago. Her sister tried to go with her but they would not allow her to and physically removed her from the vehicle. Ameera is in need of medication and treatments which have been jeopardised by her arrest. The conditions of her detention are unknown and are probably unsuitable for her wellbeing.
This is not the first time Amira was arrested. In 2002, she was convicted and fined for wearing trousers. She was arrested and jailed for a few hours in 2013 for refusing to wear a scarf. She was also beaten by the security forces in 2009 when protesting outside the courthouse where another woman, Lubna Al-Hussein, was being prosecuted for wearing trousers. Ameera then started the “No to Oppression of Women” initiative. The initiative works to defend women’s rights through organising campaigns to support women impacted by gender inequality in Sudan.
Other women reportedly arrested in the last week in January include Eiman Mohamed and Dr Zeinab Alamin who was taken from the Royal Care hospital to the security forces’ investigations centre in North Khartoum.
Injured teenager seized in hospital
Security forces took 17-year old Ali Mohamed Adam (nicknamed Tupac), from the hospital after he sought treatment for a leg injury. He was taken to an undisclosed location on the evening of January 14 after he participated in a large demonstration in Khartoum against military rule. Along with 18-year-old Mohamed el-Fateh, Tupac has been charged with killing a police brigadier general. According to their lawyer, the two young men were beaten and subjected to electric shocks in custody, while being “questioned about sources of funding for the protests and members of the Resistance Committees, but not the police brigadier” they were alleged to have killed.
In a chilling echo of tactics commonly used by al-Bashir’s security forces before the 2019 revolution, Tupac’s father was also arrested, while his mother reported being ill-treated and expelled when she visited the Public Prosecutors and the Criminal Investigations Office to ask after her son.
Resistance Committee activists targeted
For several weeks leading figures in the Resistance Committees, the neighbourhood-based popular bodies which have been coordinating the massive protests against the military coup, have been targeted by the security forces. Five members of the Khartoum State Resistance committees were seized in Dongola Province after visiting the road blockades in the area organised by farmers protesting at electricity price hikes.
Trade unionists are mobilising solidarity for the detainees. Donny Gluckstein told Middle East Solidarity,
On Friday 4 February the EIS-FELA Executive (FE lecturers in the Scottish teachers’ union) voted unanimously to ask the union as a whole to raise the issue of Amira Osman’s disappearance and the treatment of others opposed to the military coup with the Sudanese embassy. This follows on from an earlier decision of the EIS to express its solidarity with Sudanese trade unions and their battle for democracy in the country.”Donny Gluckstein, EIS-FELA Executive member
What you can do:
- Send our model letter calling for the detainees’ immediate release and for those responsible for disappearances, torture and abuse to face justice to the Sudanese embassy. Copy and paste this text into the contact form or use your own wording: “Dear Ambassador, I am writing to urge the Sudanese authorities to immediately release Amira Osman, Eiman Mohamed, Dr Zeinab AlAmin, Ali Mohamed Adam, Mohamed al-Fateh and all other political detainees. I am deeply concerned to read reports that some of the detainees have been subject to forced disappearance and tortured while in custody. Those responsible must be brought to trial. Yours faithfully” [Please add details of your union branch or organisational affiliation] https://www.sudanembassy.org.uk/contact-us/
- Call on the British government to stop legitimising the military coup leaders
- Pass a resolution in your union branch
- Invite a Sudanese activist to address your union branch meeting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the meeting.