Case History: Faisal Mohamed Salih
On 25 March 2016, journalist and human rights defender Mr Faisal Mohamed Salih was prevented from traveling from Khartoum International Airport to London by the NISS.
Faisal Mohamed Saleh is a prominent Sudanese human rights journalist. He has a degree in journalism from al-Azhar University in Cairo and a master’s from the University of Wales in Cardiff. He has worked for 25 years for various Sudanese newspapers and is a former editor of the newspaper Al-Adwa. He is also the head of Teebaa, an NGO that organises training for local journalists. Faisal has extensively written about the human rights abuses and government repression in Sudan, and also works on the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
On 28 March 2016, two members of the Our Rights Group, a Sudanese civil society coalition, were prevented from traveling from Sudan to Geneva, where they were due to participate in meetings related to the UN's review of Sudan's human rights record, a process that is explicitly supposed to include contributions from independent civil society. Sudan's examination under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is scheduled for May 2016. The human rights defenders were informed by security agents at Khartoum International Airport that they have been placed under a travel ban, and their passports were confiscated.
Our Rights Group is a coalition of Sudanese civil society organisations which recently submitted its report on the human rights situation in Sudan to the UN as part of the UPR process. The coalition includes, among others, the Asmaa Society for Development, which aims to raise awareness about gender equality in Sudan through working on women's capacity building and contributing effectively to democratic transformation in Sudan, the Human Rights and Legal Aid Network (HRLAN), and the Sudanese Solidarity Committee, which works on representing the families of victims of the 2013 protests, in which more than 700 people were killed after calling for a democratic change in the country.
Early on 28 March 2016, an officer from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), dressed in plain-clothes, prevented Ms Sawsan Hassan Elshowaya the Director of the Asmaa Society for Development and Dr Muawia Shaddad the President of HRLAN from traveling to Geneva from Khartoum International Airport to take part in meetings in preparation for the UPR examination. After having checked in their luggage and presented their passports at the immigration desk, they were stopped and informed of travel bans in place against them. Their passports were confiscated and they were asked to report to the Information and Inquiry section at the NISS headquarters for further information.
Previously, on 25 March 2016, journalist and human rights defender Mr Faisal Mohamed Salih was prevented from traveling from Khartoum International Airport to London by the NISS. His passport was confiscated without any information being provided as to whether it shall be returned to him. Faisal has extensively written about the human rights abuses and government repression in Sudan, and also works on the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
On 23 March 2016, Mr Siddig Yousif the President of the Sudanese Solidarity Committee was also prevented by the NISS from traveling from Khartoum International Airport to Geneva, and his passport was confiscated. He had not been previously notified of the travel ban against him. When he subsequently visited the Information and Inquiry section at NISS headquarters, he was not given any information about the travel ban or his passport. This is the fourth occasion on which the President of the Committee has been subjected to a travel ban.
Human rights defenders in Sudan have recently faced harassment and been subjected to intimidation by the NISS. In mid-March, passports of staff members of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), as well as those of visitors to the Centre, were confiscated by the NISS after a raid on the TRACKS office.
Front Line Defenders expresses strong concern for the imposing of travel bans against human rights defenders in Sudan, and the seizing of their passports, as it believes these acts to be directly motivated by their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.
Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the Republic of the Sudan to:
1. Immediately lift the travel bans imposed against all of the above-mentioned human rights defenders, return their passports to them, and refrain from any future harassment of them, as Front Line Defenders believes that it is being targeted solely as a result of its legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;
2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the Republic of the Sudan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Prominent journalist and human rights defender Mr Faisal Mohamed Salih was released during the night of 9 May 2012, after being arrested and detained at his home on 8 May by the NISS.
On 15 May 2012, Faisal Mohamed Salih was rearrested and detained again. He was held by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) until approximately 5.30pm and interrogated for failing to respond to a summons issued to him to report to the NISS. He was charged under Article 94 of the Penal Code and released on bail. Faisal Mohamed Salih is the Director of Taiba Press and a columnist at Al Akhbar newspaper.
On 13 May 2012, Faisal Mohamed Salih attended a court hearing in Khartoum accompanied by his lawyer to face charges including "malicious falsehood" and "defamation" of the NISS. These were brought against him under Articles 66 and 156 of the Penal Code in relation to an article he had published in Al Akhbar newspaper calling for an independent investigation of the incidents of torture and rape of activist Ms Safia Ishaq Mohamed by the NISS. Faisal Mohamed Salih attended a court hearing on 13 May 2012 accompanied by his lawyer. This hearing was adjourned until 11 June 2012.
Front Line Defenders is concerned about the arrest and detention of Faisal Mohamed Salih on 8 and 15 May 2012, and sees these actions as part of an ongoing campaign of judicial harassment and intimidation against the human rights defender.
Front Line Defenders calls for all charges against Faisal Mohamed Salih to be immediately and unconditionally dropped, as it believes that they are solely motivated by Faisal Mohamed Salih's peaceful and legitimate human rights work in Sudan.
Sudanese journalist Mr Faisal Mohamed Salih was arrested and detained on 8 May 2012 and Sudanese lawyer Ms Nagla Mohamed has been suffering from ongoing harassment and intimidation since 21 April 2012.
On 8 May 2012, prominent Sudanese journalist '''Mr Faisal Mohamed Salih''' was arrested from his home in Khartoum and detained by members of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). Faisal Mohamed Salih is the Director of Taiba Press and a columnist at Al Akhbar newspaper. The whereabouts of Faisal Mohamed Salih's current detention are unknown.
Since 21 April 2012, '''Ms Nagla Mohamed''', prominent Sudanese human right defender and lawyer, has been the subject of summons, interrogation and ill-treatment by the NISS and has been forced to report repeatedly to its offices. Nagla Mohamed is the Director of Al Sharq Human Rights and Development Organisation and attended Front Line Defenders' Dublin Platform in September 2011.
Shortly before his arrest, Faisal Mohamed Salih told Front Line Defenders: "Yesterday was the eleventh day of daily reporting to the security office. At the end of the day, I told them that I am not coming on Tuesday, if they want me they should come and detain me. I am now waiting in my house".
Since 27 April 2012, Faisal Mohamed Salih has had to report to the NISS offices in Khartoum where he has been interrogated and detained from morning until early evening. The last daily arbitrary summons and detention was on 7 May 2012, when he was held from morning until 4pm. When he was asked to leave and to report back on the following day, Faisal Mohamed Salih refused, stating that he had been told the summons will continue for ten days and that he had already been summoned for an extra day.
On 25 April 2012, the arbitrary summons of Faisal Mohamed Salih began when he was detained and interrogated from 8pm until 12am in relation to comments he aired on Al Jazeera TV on 19 April 2012 in reference to a speech made by the Sudanese President on the conflict in Heglig. He was told the he was not authorised to make such comments in public and that he should bring any concerns he has to the private attention of authorities through official channels. Over the following ten days, Faisal Mohamed Salih had to report to the NISS offices where he was held from morning until 5pm without being questioned.
Faisal Mohamed Salih has previously been the subject of judicial harassment. He was prevented from attending a training workshop held in Tanzania from 30 April to 3 May 2012. In 2011, he was judicially harassed as a result of his efforts to highlight violations committed against activist Ms Safia Ishaq Mohamed, who was raped while being held in the custody of the NISS.
Human right defender and lawyer Nagla Mohamed has been the subject of ongoing harassment and intimidation by the NISS since 21 April 2012. Her most recent summons was on 8 May 2012, when she was asked to report to the offices of the NISS in the city of Port Sudan where she lives and works. She was first detained at her home on 21 April 2012 by 14 male security officers from the NISS, some of whom were armed with pipes measuring approximately 1.40 centimetres. She was taken by the security officers to the NISS offices. On her arrival, she was taken to a dark location infested with insects and flies and was threatened to be beaten. The security officers called her an insect and verbally abused her.
After two hours, Nagla Mohamed was taken to another room where she was interrogated by two male officers on issues related to her private life and family, and her work as a human rights defender. During this time, she was again verbally abused and called a “traitor” and an “infidel”. The interrogation continued until 10pm after which time she was taken home. While on her way home, she was told by officers that she was under constant surveillance and that they knew a lot of information about her which they could use to defame her character.
Nagla Mohamed was ordered to report to the NISS offices the following day at 10am. She was interrogated again, this time focusing on her relations with political parties including the Communist Party of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM). The interrogation ended at 1pm and she was asked to go home. Shortly afterwards, Nagla Mohamed was contacted by phone and ordered to return to the NISS offices. Upon her arrival, she was taken to office of the Director who threatened to detain her as result of her activities. She was subsequently held in a room where she was detained until 6pm. She was released and ordered to report at 8am the following day. Nagla Mohamed told them that she could not come on that day due to a hearing she had to attend as a lawyer.
On 24 April 2012, Nagla Mohamed reported to the NISS offices where she was detained in an isolated room for 12 hours without access to toilet facilities. When she told the officers that she needed to use the toilet facilities, she was taken to a toilet designated for men. She was released and ordered to report back on the following day. When she protested, she was told that these measures were intended to disrupt her work and to deter her from involvement in activities against the Government. When she reported back during the following days, Nagla Mohamed was held in the same room until evening. As a result of the poor conditions during her detention, she fell ill and was taken to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a nervous breakdown.
Front Line Defenders express serious concern for the physical and psychological integrity of Faisal Mohamed Salih and Nagla Mohamed. Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the arbitrary arrest and detention of Faisal Mohamed Salih, and the harassment and intimidation of Nagla Mohamed, and believes that these measures against the human rights defenders are solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate human rights work in Sudan.