Sudan: Another Khartoum University Student Victim of Arrest and Incommunicado Detention

Another Khartoum University Student Victim of Arrest and Incommunicado Detention

On 5 May 2016, several students, amongst which 25-year-old Wifag Mohamed Gourashi Al Tayib, were abducted by officers of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), as they were meeting a lawyer after they were expelled from Khartoum University in reprisals for their participation to peaceful demonstrations. Contacted by her family who had not heard from her since, on 25 May, Alkarama and the Arab Coalition for Sudan (ACS) wrote to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) in the hope that it will help shed light on her whereabouts.

On 5 May 2016, Wifag went to Nabil Adib's law firm along with 10 other students to challenge the notification by Khartoum University of the termination of their studies for a period of two years, due to their participation to peaceful demonstrations on campus in April 2016. Suddenly, 14 members of the NISS in plainclothes and heavily armed broke into the firm, started to search the place and confiscated several items without showing any warrant. The officers also threatened then beat the students up, including Wifag as well as one of the lawyer's staff. They handcuffed and forced everyone to lie down before taking them to Khartoum North NISS detention facility.

To the exception of the law firm personnel released few hours later without charges, all the students were kept in incommunicado detention. Despite repeated requests, Wifag's relatives were refused the right to visit her and the NISS officers refused to confirm whether they were holding her. Under the National Security Act of 2010, the NISS can detain individuals for weeks without charges and judicial supervision.

This crackdown followed April's peaceful demonstrations in Khartoum University campus to protest against the decision of the authorities to lease out some of the university's buildings for tourism purposes. At the end of April and without any other reason than their involvement in these peaceful protests, those who took part in the marches were notified that they had been expelled from the university for a period of two years.

Consequently, on 19 May 2016, Alkarama and the Arab Coalition for Sudan (ACS), wrote to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), a UN mechanism they had already seized following the similar arbitrary arrests and consequent disappearance of other students. Concerned over the fact that Wifag could be subjected to torture while in detention, Alkarama and ACS solicited the WGEID's urgent intervention to ask the Sudanese authorities to immediately release her. Alkarama and ACS believe it is of outmost importance that Wifag's family be allowed to visit her immediately and that all possible charges brought against her be dropped.

For more information or an interview, please contact media@alkarama.org (Tel: +41 22 734 1008).