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Sudan - Update: Release of human rights defender Ms Mai Shutta and continued arbitrary detention of Mr Bakry Al-Ajami and Mr Faisal Shabu
Front Line Defenders welcomes the release of Ms Mai Shutta on 11 August 2012, who had been held without charge by the Sudanese authorities since her arrest from her home in Khartoum-Omdurman on 1 July 2012.
However, Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the ongoing detention of human rights defenders Mr Bakry Al-Ajami and Mr Faisal Shabu.
While in detention, Mai Shutta was interrogated on several occasions, during which she was threatened with a gun. Moreover, it was reported that the food provided by the prison authorities was insufficient, and that she and several others twice went on hunger strike due to the restricted access to toilets and the lack of sanitary towels. Her health condition has now improved, but she is still suffering from back pain and stomach problems due to the poor prison conditions.
While in prison, Mai Shutta was criticised for being one of the leaders of Girifna, a non violent resistance movement, and accused of being a communist, as well as disrespecting prison personnel. Prior to her release, she was ordered to sign a declaration stating that she will cease her activism, will not report to foreign entities about the Sudanese government, and that she will respect the government and security forces and cooperate with them.
There are reports that both Bakry Al-Ajami and Faisal Shabu have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment in detention. Faisal Shabu reportedly bled heavily while being tortured and had a heart attack and had to be transferred to Amal Hospital for treatment. Furthermore, family visits have been very restricted. Bakry Al-Ajami has been transferred to Port Sudan, hundreds of miles away from his family, thus making family visits even more difficult. Bakry Al-Ajami and Faisal Shabu were arrested on 29 June and 24 June respectively, and continue to be held without charge. For more information, please see Front Line Defender's recent urgent appeal, dated 2 August 2012: Ongoing detention without charge of Ms Mai Shutta, Mr Bakry Al-Ajami and Mr Faisal Shabu.
Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Bakry Al-Ajami and Faisal Shabu, particularly taking into account the allegations of torture or ill-treatment and Faisal Shabu's heart condition.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the Sudanese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Bakry Al-Ajami and Faisal Shabu, to take all necessary measures to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity while in detention, and to initiate an impartial and effective investigation into all allegations of torture.