12 December 2012

Sudan: Student Protestors Dead, Missing in Sudan

Photo: Al Jazeera
A group of protesters (file photo).

press release

Four students are dead and two others have disappeared following clashes between security forces and demonstrators at a Sudanese university.

Human Rights Watch reports that the bodies of Mohamed Younis al-Nil, Adel Mohamed Ahmed, Alsadiq Abdullah Yagoub and Nu'man Ahmed Koreishi's were found in a sewage canal near Al Jazeera University on 7 December. A witness told the organisation that their bodies displayed signs of torture.

The students had been protesting the university administration's refusal to honour tuition payment exemptions, as per the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. The agreement guarantees five years of free education to the children of refugees and internally displaced people from the Darfur States.

According to Human Rights Watch, 11 Darfuri students were arrested on 2 December after asking the university administration for a fee waiver. Protests erupted shortly thereafter, with another 60 students arrested on 5 December. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they saw security forces pushing students into the canal.

State news agency SUNA reported on 8 December that the four students had "drowned". Human Rights Watch noted however that a lawyer who requested the medical examiner's report on the deceased students was later arrested by national security officials.

"Withholding the autopsy report only gives the impression the authorities have something to hide," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) also condemned the incident, saying it is holding Sudan's Popular Congress Party accountable for the violence. The organisation called for the government to "bring the torturers before justice and apply the maximum penalties on them."

ANHRI noted that student supporters of the Popular Congress Party and security forces has also attacked Darfuri students at Al Zaeem al Azhari University earlier this month.

The student's deaths have sparked violent protests in Khartoum and other towns; security forces have beaten protestors with batons, used tear gas, and arrested dozens of individuals, including high profile opposition members.

Leaders of the Sudanese Consensus Forces (SCF) and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) have also spoken out publically about the recent attacks.

On 9 December, justice minister Mohammed Bushara Dousa announced a commission of inquiry into the students' deaths, according to Human Rights Watch and news reports.

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