Nyala — Three activists from Ed El Fursan in South Darfur are detained incommunicado by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) without charge or access to their families.
A lawyer contracted by the activists' families has expressed concern for their safety and well-being as they may be subjected to ill-treatment and torture, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) states in a report on Thursday.
They are currently being held in the NISS section of the Nyala Prison in South Darfur, after having been transferred from NISS custodies in Ed El Fursan on 26 May.
Azrag Mousa, Ahmed El Sadig, and El Hadi Abdelrahman were detained from their homes in Ed El Fursan on 25 May, a day after they led a peaceful protest in the locality against the deficit of basic services, in particular a shortage of clean drinking water and electricity.
According to ACJPS, there is no legitimate cause for the three activists' detention. "Their arrests are solely based on their organisation and participation in peaceful demonstrations calling for the provision of services in Ed El Fursan by the local authorities. Freedom of expression, association, and assembly are all guaranteed under Sudan's Interim National Constitution," the report reads.
"The lack of access for lawyers and family members to the detainees, together with the well-documented use by the NISS of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, particularly whilst held in unknown locations, gives rise to serious concerns for their safety [..].
"The practice is in breach of Sudan's obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, in particular the prohibition under Article 5 of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment. Under the 2010 National Security Act (NSA), detainees can be held for up to four and a half months without judicial review.
"This incommunicado detention of the three activists, alongside other recent incidents of arbitrary detention documented by ACJPS, diverges significantly with the current image projected by Sudan to normalise its relationship with the international community and as the United States prepares to review Sudan's sanctions next month.
The African Centre calls upon the Sudanese government "to grant the detainees immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers and family members, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards. If such charges exist, the three individuals should be brought promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times".