World Organization Against Torture (Geneva)

13 August 2008

Sudan: Death Penalty Imposed on 30 Individuals, Including a Minor

press release

Geneva — The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Sudan.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, that 30 individuals, including a minor, (see names below) on trial in Sudan’s Special Courts for their alleged involvement in the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) 10 May attacks on Omdurman, have been found guilty and have been sentenced to death by hanging. OMCT is concerned that these individuals may be executed after trial proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trials.

According to the information received, on 29 July 2008 Khartoum Anti-terrorism Court No 1, found eight defendants guilty and sentenced them to death. Another defendant was acquitted and a 10th was referred to a juvenile court because he was under age (no further information is currently available on these two individuals). Lawyers for the convicted defendants had reportedly no access to their clients and were forced to withdraw. The convicted defendants are:

1. Kamal Mohamed Saboon

2. Musa Hamid

3. Younis Abdalla

4. Musa Adam Hassan

5. Bahr Edin Bashir

6. Bushara Abdalla Issa

7. Ibrahim Alnor Zakaria

8. Shumo Osman Ishaq

Furthermore, on 31 July 2008, the Khartoum North and Omdurman Anti-terrorisms Courts sentenced another 22 of the alleged Darfur rebels to death. One of those sentenced to death is aged 16, a punishment that would be illegal in Sudan but the judge reportedly "thought the suspect lied about his age." The judge gave them one week to appeal the decision in line with the court’s special procedures. Those convicted by Khartoum North Anti-Terrorism Court and sentenced to death are:

1. Fadul Hussien Rizig Allah

2. Mohamed Arabi Ismail Ahmed

3. Mahmud Abakar Mursal

4. Mohamed Hashim Ali Abdo

5. Bushara Yahya Mohamed Salih

6. Mohamed Adam Abdalla Mohamed

7. Haytham Adam Ali Adam

8. Haroon Abdlegadir Haroon Hassan

9. Adam Abdalla Younis

10. Mohammed Araby Omer Dawod

While Omdurman anti-terrorism Court 1 convicted and sentenced to death:

1. Mohamed Mansour Khatir

2. Osman Rabih Mursal

3. Adam Mohamed Issa

4. Mustafa Adam Saboon

5. Ibrahim Abakar Hashim

6. Mohamed Sharif Abdalla Suliman

7. Mohamed Adam Zarieba (16 years old)

8. Adam Alnor Abdelrhman

9. Abu Bakar Ibrahim Sharif

10. Abdalla Adam Ibrahim

11. Ibrahim Adam Alrasheed

12. Bashir Adam Alsanoosi

The defendants, whom the government alleges are members of JEM, have been charged as a group under various articles of the 1991 Penal Code and the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Law, which is being used for the first time after Sudan classified JEM as a terrorist group following the May 10 attack. The charges include waging war against the state, inciting hatred, possessing guns and belonging to an outlawed group. They are also accused of using official military uniforms and terrorizing civilians, armed robbery and violating the "Terrorist Crimes" and "Terrorist Organization" provisions of the 2001 law, which carry the death penalty.

Reports from Sudan suggest that the new Anti-Terrorism courts have been conducting the trials under unfair conditions with defendants being stripped of their judicial rights. Defendants could be convicted on the basis of confessions made in detention and have no right against self-incrimination. Defence lawyers have also been denied access to their clients or been forced to withdraw. The Special Courts were created shortly after the May attacks under Sudan's 2001 Anti-Terrorism Law.

According to the same information received, in May 2008, widespread arrests had taken place after the attacks with members of the police and the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) reportedly targeting Darfuris. Reports had indicated that many of those rounded up in the mass arrests were subjected to physical abuse in custody[1].

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its grave concern about the sentencing to death of these 30 individuals, including a minor. OMCT is particularly concerned that the sentences have been passed after reported unfair trials. Moreover, OMCT is strongly preoccupied by reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention. OMCT wishes to recall that according to international rules, any statement which is established to have been made as result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings.

OMCT further recalls that Sudan is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and stipulates certain principles and procedures to guarantee fair trial. OMCT also strongly supports the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) ratified by Sudan, and in particular article 37 which forbids the imposition of "capital punishment (...) for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age (...)". Finally, OMCT is strongly opposed to the death penalty as an extreme form or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. Therefore, OMCT calls for a full retrial before an independent and impartial tribunal, in which the death penalty is not a possible punishment and under conditions which ensure the strictest compliance with fair trial standards enshrined in national and international law.

Requested Action

Please write to the authorities in Sudan urging them to:

i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the 30 above mentioned individuals;

ii. Guarantee access to their families and lawyers as well as guarantee any necessary medical assistance;

iii. Cancel the death penalty sentences and declare void the judgments on account of evidence coerced under torture;

iv. Order a full retrial before an independent and impartial tribunal, in which the death penalty is not a possible punishment and under conditions which ensure the strictest compliance with fair trial standards enshrined in national and international law;

v. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in particular into the allegations of torture, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

vi. Guarantee that adequate compensation is awarded to all 30 individuals;

vii. Introduce a moratorium on executions as immediate steps towards full abolition of the death penalty in law as provided by GA Resolution A/C.3/62/L.29 entitled “Moratorium on the use of death penalty”;

viii. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international humanitarian law and human rights standards, and in particular, expedite reforms to bring the Sudanese justice system and all legislation into line with the Interim National Constitution and international human rights standards, and to end the impunity of state officials.

Addresses

- His Excellency President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Office of the President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan,

- His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan,

- His Excellency Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President, People’s Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan,

- Mr Abdel Bassit Sabdarat, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan

- Mr Deng Alor, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/External Relations, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan,

- Mr Ibrahim Mohamed Hamed, Minister of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Interior, PO Box 873, Khartoum, Sudan,

- Dr Abdelmuneim Osman Mohamed Taha, Advisory Council for Human Rights, Rapporteur, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan, Fax: +249 183 77 08 83

- Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 47, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 731 26 63, Fax: +41 22 731 26 56, Email: mission.sudan@bluewin.ch / mission.sudan@ties.itu.int

- The Embassy of Sudan in Brussels, Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 124, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Tel.:0032 (2) 647 51 59 / 0032 (2) 647 94 94, Fax: 0032 (2) 648 34 99, Email: sudanbx@yahoo.com

Please also write to the embassies of Sudan in your respective country.

***

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

[1] See for example OMCT Urgent appeal SDN 230508.

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