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KHARTOUM, Sudan, January 19, 2018/ — The African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) is concerned for the safety and well-being of students from Aldalang University in South Kordofan who have been arbitrarily arrested after joint security forces (National Intelligence and Security Services, Military Intelligence, Sudan Armed Forces and Police) raided the university following a student protest staged after an officer of the Sudan Armed Forces indiscriminately shot and killed two students on the university campus. At least 49 students were detained during the raid. ACJPS has serious concerns for the five students currently detained incommunicado at the Military Intelligence offices in Aldalang.

ACJPS condemns the killing of the two students as well as the authorisation of the use of force to crackdown on the student protest and calls on the government of Sudan to respect its international human right obligations, especially in situations of emergency. The state of emergency in force in South Kordofan brings Sudan’s emergency laws into operation. The broad powers conferred on the Executive under the legal framework for emergencies give rise to concerns over arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention, ill-treatment and torture and violations of fair trial rights which are facilitated by the complete absence of safeguards and judicial oversight.

Incident

On 11 January 2018 at 1 PM, Sergeant Abdalla Issa Muhajer, an officer attached to battalion 401 of the Sudan Armed Forces, armed with a Kalashnikov entered the School of Education and Mathematics, Aldalnag University, in South Kordofan state and indiscriminately opened fire on a crowd of students after a female student refused to pay him attention.

Officer Muhajer shot at Ms. Zahra Osman Eltigani’s head killing her on spot. Ms. Eltigani was a student at the University and is from Iad Alfrsan locality in South Darfur State. Another student, Mr. Suliman Abdulkarien died during the shooting. Officer Muhajer then proceeded to shoot himself to death.

According to eyewitnesses, Officer Muhajer arrived at the University in the afternoon of 11 January and waited for Ms. Eltigani to finish her classes. As soon as Ms. Eltigani was free, Officer Muhajer tried to approach her but she refused his advances. In reaction to this, Officer Muhajer opened gun fire on Ms. Eltigani, shooting her in the head and killing another student in the process. He then shoot himself to death.

The following day, 12 January at 9 AM, students gathered at the main hall and blocked it off, as a reaction to the incident that had happened the previous day. An hour later, the security committee of Aldalang held a meeting and ordered for the evacuation of students from all university buildings and student hostels and authorised the use of force in the evacuation. Following this directive, joint forces of the Sudan Armed Forces, Police, National Intelligence and Security Services and Military Intelligence raided the university and used force including live ammunition to evacuate the students.

According to information received, about 117 students were arrested during the raid and are currently being held under NISS, Military Intelligence and Police custody in Aldalang. ACJPS was able to confirm the arrest of 49 students by the NISS, Military Intelligence and Police.

Students under NISS custody include:

Adam Alhadi, (m)
Abuhurira Abdalla, (m)
Musa Ismail, (m)
Ibrahim Ahmed Nouerin, (m)
Mohamed Idriss, (m)
Mohamed Yagoup Adam Abakar, (m)
Hussan Suliman Jumaa, (m)
Mustafa Mohamed Abdalla, (m)
Ibrahim Ahmed Jumaa, (m)
Adam Hamid Mohamed, (m)
Eissa Adam Alzain, (m)
Moumen Eissa Ibrahim, (m)
Mutasim Abdulaziz Ibrahim, (m)
Adam Abdulrhman, (m)
Suliman Ibrahim Bashir, (m)
Abbas Ibrahim Adam, (m)
Ahmed Abakar Ismail, (m)
Mohamed Hassab, (m)
Tareq Abdalla, (m)
Abdalla Abdlmalik Jazar, (m)
On 15 January, 18 students who were detained by the NISS were transferred to Police custody and charged with offences under section 21 (joints acts of criminal conspiracy), 66 (publication of false news), 69 (disturbance of public peace), 77 (public nuisance) and 182 (criminal mischief) of the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Act. They released on bail on 16 January. They include:

Mudathir Abdalla Mohamed, (m)
Abdalla Ramadan Khatier, (m)
Adam Abakar Adam, (m)
Al-Fadil Mustafa Abdalla, (m)
Abdalla Abakar Issa, (m)
Hassan Suliman Jafar, (m)
Rashid Ahmed Adam, (m)
Mohamed Ismail Yagoub, (m)
Abakar Omer Adam, (m)
Abdulshafi Ibrahim, (m)
Mahmoud Abakar Hamad, (m)
Abdulhadi Ali Abdulrahman, (m)
Tariq Jumaa, (m)
Ahmed Omer Abdulrahman, (m)
Nour Eldien Ali, (m)
Hassan Abdalla, (m)
Mohamed Ibrahim, (m)
Ahmed Ishag Adam, (m)
On 16 January, six female detainees who were under police custody since 12 January were released on bail after being charged alongside the above mentioned 18 detainees. They include:

Mashier Nas Eldien (f)
Manahil Ali Al Doud (f)
Ekhlas Suliman (f)
Rouman Hamza (f)
Kura Yahya Teben (f)
Gawaish Ali Adam (f)
A court session was scheduled for 22 January 2018 for the hearing of the case against the 24 students facing charges.

According to reliable information received by ACJPS, five students are being detained incommunicado at the Military Intelligence office in Aldalang since 12 January. Given the well-documented use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees in Military Intelligence, ACJPS serious safety concerns for the five detainees. Incommunicado detention significantly enhances vulnerability to torture and other ill-treatment. The practice is in breach of Sudan’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in particular the prohibition under Article 5 of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment. ACJPS was only able to obtain one full name of the five detainees: Al-Fadil Mustafa Abdalla.

ACJPS calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately guarantee the safety of the five student detainees, grant them immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers and family members, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards.

ACJPS further calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately conduct a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the killings and surrounding circumstances and make the findings public. We also call on the Government to compensate the families of the victims killed in the incident.

ACJPS is deeply concerned about the authorisation and continued use of excessive forces by authorities to crackdown protests in Sudan. The policing of assemblies must respect human rights and must be carried out in accordance with international standards, which prohibit the use of force unless strictly necessary and proportionate. Sudanese authorities should ensure that police and other security services responsible for policing demonstrations or performing other law enforcement duties comply with international standards on the use of force. It should be made clear that arbitrary or abusive use of force by security forces will be punished as a criminal offence.

Sudanese authorities should refrain from arbitrarily arresting and detaining individuals on basis of their real or perceived involvement in the organisation of protests without accurate information on the grounds or reasons of arrests. Authorities should guarantee rights of detainees including, access to lawyer and family, access to medical attention and prompt access to a court.

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