Arrest and harassment of Women Activists / Suspension of Women's NGO

June 6, 2003 (OMCT)

Case SDN 060603.VAW
Violence Against Women

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Sudanese Organisation against Torture (SOAT), a member of the OMCT network, of the arrest and harassment of Women Activists in Sudan.

According to the information received, five officers from the Sudanese National Security Agency (NSA) arrested 38 women from the Nuba Mountain Women's Association and 3 men who accompanied them as they were departing for a women's conference for peace and development in Kawda town, Nuba Mountain at 10:30 am on Monday June 2nd, 2003.

The conference participants began their journey from the 'Awda district in Omdurman only to be intercepted at Kalakala in Southern Khartoum, where they were met by 6 NSA pick- up trucks and 2 cars with tinted windows. The NSA officers, armed with kalashnikov rifles and pistols arrested the delegates and transported them to the NSA offices in Kalakala East, where they were searched in an antagonistic manner and insulted verbally. Following this, they were interrogated regarding their movements, the intentions of their trip and any
relations they may have had with the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLA).

Eight conference delegates were then transported to the NSA offices in Omdurman (near Omdurman Traffic Police Station) where they were forced to sign a declaration promising that they would not leave Khartoum without the permission of the NSA. A number of personal items were confiscated from the group-including mobile phones, computer equipment, documents and diaries containing private details of contacts. In addition to this, a sum of approximately 8 million Sudanese pounds was confiscated and the delegates were made to sit
on the floor for an hour in the hot sun.

The following people were released at 9pm on Monday June 2nd, 2003, but ordered to report to the NSA offices in Omdurman on a daily basis, from 8am in the morning until 8pm in the evening: Huda Dawood (f); Huwaida Bashir Kumi (f); Ja'fariya Bashina (f); E'timaad Faqih Ali (f); Samir Abdallah (m).

The following people were taken to the Khartoum NSA offices until they were finally released at 2am on the morning of June 3rd, 2003, but also ordered to remain in Khartoum and to report to the NSA offices daily: Zeinab Balnadiya (f), President of the Ruayya Association, Jumm'a Durman (f), Camilla (f). They continue to do so.

The remaining members of the Nuba Mountain Women's Association were released from the NSA offices in Kalakala at 2am on the morning of June 3rd, 2003. The offices of the Ruayya Women's Organisation in Al-
'Awda, which was the initial meeting-point for the delegation's trip, has since been closed down by the NSA.

OMCT condemns the continuing restrictions on the freedom of association in Sudan and the harassment of women's human rights activists.

Geneva, June 6th, 2003

Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
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