Khartoum — The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) plans to lodge complaints against the head of Sudan's security apparatus because of the conditions he set for the release of political detainees. Relatives of people being held staged a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum on Sunday, demanding their immediate release.
In a statement on Sunday, the Darfur lawyers announced they will file a complaint to the Sudanese Political Parties Council against Salah Abdallah (aka Salah Gosh), head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). According to the DBA, the NISS is holding political activists as "hostages".
Hundreds of people, among them many leaders of opposition parties, were detained by security agents in January, because they publicly protested the new austerity measures imposed by the government.
Following the order of President Omar Al Bashir in mid-February to release all political detainees, about 80 of them were able to leave Kober Prison in Khartoum-North.
The NISS director conditioned the release of the remaining detainees "with the improvement of the conduct of their [political] parties, which should abandon their demands to overthrow the regime by force".
The Bar Association that is providing legal aid to the political detainees considers the detention of its deputy chairman Saleh Mahmoud Osman and other people still being held by the security apparatus a violation of the country's Interim Constitution and the Political Parties Act.
The DBA statement explains that Osman, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, was detained by security officers from his office in Khartoum on February 1, "while he was practising his legal duties". He "never publicly announced to which party he belongs".
The Darfur lawyers are as well preparing a complaint against the NISS director, to be submitted to the Sudan's Constitutional Court "to protect the constitutional rights of the hostages held by the security service".
Relatives of a number of young political detainees held a vigil in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum on Sunday.
"Imameldin Mawo, Esam Khidir, Omar El Badri, and others were detained by NISS agents in Khartoum in February, and taken to the security office in El Amaraat 57th Street at the time," a protesting relative told Radio Dabanga. "But we do not know where they are currently being held."
On behalf of the families, lawyer Amaal El Zein presented a petition to the Minister of Justice, calling for the detainees' unconditioned release.
The relatives called on the Minister of Justice to intervene to release the detainees or charge them and bring their to a fair trial. They demanded "to be immediately informed of the detainees' places of detention, so that their families and lawyers will be able to visit them".