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Sudan: Enforced Disappearance of a Human Rights Activist Following His Abduction by the Intelligence

Hafiz Idriss حافظ إدريس

On 16 March 2017, Alkarama and the Arab Coalition for Sudan (ACS) sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearance (WGEID) concerning the case of Hafiz Idress Eldouma Abdelgadir, a human rights activist advocating for the rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Sudan. The activist was arrested without any warrant by members of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in a wave of severe reprisals taken by the authorities against human rights defenders and political opponents for having merely exercised their civil and political rights. Despite their numerous requests to the authorities, the family of Hafiz Idriss remains without information about his fate and whereabouts and fears that he could be tortured or ill-treated while being detained in reprisal against his activism.

On 24 November 2016, Hafiz Idriss was travelling to Khartoum for medical reasons when he was arrested from the house of one of his relatives in Omdurman, a town in the State of Khartoum. Several members of the NISS arrested him without any warrant or providing any reason and forcibly took him to an unknown location. To date, the family has not been informed by the authorities of where, why and their relative is detained and has been refused any information on his fate and current health condition.

According to elements reported to ACS and Alkarama, it seems that Hafiz Idriss is being kept in secret detention at the Kober Prison of Khartoum and his family fears that he might have been severely tortured. His commitment to defend human rights is putting him under risk of ill-treatment and unfair trial, especially since he has been abducted by the NISS, who are granted discretionary powers to arrest and detain individuals without any legal procedure and in violation of fundamental procedural rights and guarantees.

“This complete disregard for the most basic human rights, by keeping them in secret detention and completely isolated from the outside world, amounts to an enforced disappearance which is considered as a particularly odious human rights violation,” said Radidja Nemar, Alkarama's Regional Legal Officer for North Africa. “As long as the NISS is allowed by the National Security Act of 2010 to arrest and detain individuals for prolonged periods of time and without having to answer to an independent judicial authority, human rights defenders like Hafiz Idriss will continue to carry out their legitimate work under the constant fear of reprisals form the authorities,” she added.

The disappearance of Hafiz Idriss is part of an unabated use of arbitrary arrests, secret detention and torture by the NISS against human rights defenders in the country. In December 2016, Tasneem Ahmed Taha Elzaki and Noora Obeid, were also arrested by the NISS without warrants and secretly detained for several weeks before being released on 13 March 2017. The two women were also targeted for their legitimate human rights activities: while Elzaki is a lawyer, Obeid is working as an accountant for the engineering company of Dr Mudawi, the prominent Sudanese human rights activist who is still currently detained incommunicado. Political opponents are also targeted by NISS: in January, Mohammed Al Amin, a leading member of the Sudanese Nasserist Democratic Unionist Party and of the National Consensus Party was arrested and remains detained for having merely peacefully exercised his freedom of speech.

In their urgent appeal, Alkarama and ACS requested the WGEID to urgently intervene with the Sudanese authorities and ask them to immediately release Hafiz Idriss, to inform his family of his fate and whereabouts and to put him under the protection of the law as well as to ensure his mental and physical integrity. Furthermore, Alkarama and ACS reminded the Sudanese authorities of their international obligations and urged them to put an end to the ongoing repression against human rights defenders and members of the opposition.

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