15 August 2014

Sudan: UN Expert Calls for Immediate Release of Political Detainees in Sudan

Photo: Radio Okapi/Ph: Don John Bompengo
President Omar el-Béchir

A United Nations human rights expert today denounced the arrest and sentencing of political activists in Sudan, reiterating his call on the Government to free all the political detainees to enable an inclusive national dialogue.

The appeal comes after the arrest of the deputy leader of the Sudan National Umma Party, Meriam Al-Mahdi on 11 August, and the continued detention of the leader of the Sudanese Congress Party, Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, since 8 June.

"The arrest and detention of Ms. Al-Mahdi and Mr. Al-Sheikh are not conducive to realizing an inclusive national dialogue proposed by the Government of the Sudan," the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Mr. Mashood Adebayo Baderin, said in a news release.

He also urged the authorities "to show their good faith in taking the national dialogue forward positively," stressing that "a fully inclusive national dialogue it is "the only reasonable way" to address constitutional and political challenges in the Sudan."

"It is imperative to ensure the guarantee of fundamental civil liberties and freedoms of all political leaders to encourage confidence in the proposed national dialogue", added Mr. Baderin.

Voicing concerns over the large number of Sudanese detained, the UN envoy also called on the Government and security agents "to desist from any further arrest and detention of political leaders and to fully ensure the right to liberty and freedom of individuals in the Sudan, in order to facilitate the necessary political confidence and conducive atmosphere for taking the national dialogue forward."

Independent experts are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Mr. Baderin will present his findings and recommendations on human rights situation in Sudan in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

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