Tuesday, November 1, 2011
October 31, 2010: a group of Darfuri activists is attacked by state security forces during a meeting in Khartoum. They are arrested - place of detention unknown. One year later, three of them are still imprisoned for "undermining state security", "breaking the media law" and alleged "collaboration" with Radio Dabanga, a Netherlands-based radio station that broadcasts daily news about and for Darfur.

After one year there is still a lawsuit pending against the various Darfuri who were arrested during a youth gathering on the future of Darfur. Three men are still imprisoned in Khartoum's notorious Kober prison: Abdelrahman Adam, Zakaria Yaqoub and Adam Al Nu. They are charged with "inciting violence against the state" and "undermining the constitution". Earlier this year, the prisoners Abdulrahman Gassim, Kauthar Abdel Haq, Khalid Ishaq and Jaafar Al Sabky were released on bail.

The journalist Al Sabky was released after President Omar Al Bashir had promised earlier during Ramadan, that all Dafuri journalists would be released. However, this promise has not been kept, the Presidential decree was not enacted by the prosecutors. Accordingly, the lawsuits against the seven Dafuri activists, including Al Sabky, has since continued.

Peace Treaty: amnesty for imprisoned Darfuris

Mohammed Abdullah Duma, lawyer and spokesperson for the defense told Radio Dabanga that despite the continuing detention of the activists, there was no progress in the juridical process, since court sessions were continuously cancelled or postponed. However, as Duma emphasized, the Doha Peace Treaty implies that amnesty should be granted for prisoners who were arrested following the crisis in Darfur.

Journalists condemn detention

The Union of Independent Journalists condemns the detention of the three remaining prisoners. The union, currently not recognized by the government, is alarmed about the deteriorating freedom of the press in Sudan: "The situation in Sudan is getting worse by the day. It is increasingly dangerous to work for journalists and newspapers such as Al Jarida and Ajras Al Hurriya," says a spokesman.

Solidarity with the prisoners

The coalition of opposition in Sudan, the Forces of National Consensus, expressed solidarity with the imprisoned activists. Leader of coalition Kamal Abdel Salam Omar, called them "prisoners of the regime in Khartoum" during a press conference. Salam: "The accusations against the Darfuri confirms that the justice system in Sudan has lost its independence. As agents of national consensus, Radio Dabanga is considered to be a free and independent medium which provides free speech for all Sudanese people,” Salam said.