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Charges against members of TRACKS

Status: 
Facing Charges
About the situation

Six human rights defenders affiliated with TRACKS centre (Messrs Khalafalla Mukhtar Alafif, Mustafa Adam, Midhat Hamdan, Hassan Kheiry and Mmes Arwa Elrabie and Imani-Leyla Raye) are charged with criminal offences including “waging war against the State”. If convicted, they might face the death penalty.

On 20 December 2016 at 12pm, the HRDs will appear before the Khartoum Central Criminal Court.

About TRACKS

Sudan policeTRACKS is a Khartoum based organisation which provides and facilitates trainings on a variety of topics ranging from human rights to information technology.

19 December 2016
Trial against members of TRACKS continues

On 20 December 2016 at 12pm, six human rights defenders affiliated with TRACKS centre will appear before the Khartoum Central Criminal Court. Mr Khalafalla Alafif, Mr Mustafa Adam, Mr Midhat Hamdan, Mr Hassan Kheiry, Ms Arwa Elrabie, and Ms Imani-Leyla Raye have all been involved in an ongoing trial with charges including “waging war against the State” which carries the death penalty. Khalafalla Alafif, Mustafa Adam and Midhat Hamdan are currently being detained in Al-Huda prison, Khartoum. The remaining members, Arwa Elrabie and Imani- Leyla Raye and Hassan Kheiry are released on bail.

Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar is the Director of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), which is an organisation that provides trainings on a variety of topics ranging from human rights to information technology. Arwa Elrabie is the administration manager at the centre, Midhat Hamdan is a trainer who has worked with TRACKS, Hassan Kheiri is a computer technician, and Imany-Leyla Raye is a student volunteer. Mustafa Adam is the Director of Zarqa Organisation for Rural Development (ZORD), which offers training and workshops on human rights.

During the previous hearing, held on 13 December 2016 at 12pm, a member of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) presented a number of spurious accusations against the six human rights defenders that were being reviewed by the prosecutor. First, the members of TRACKS were accused of espionage on the Sudanese government for the benefit of international organizations, embassies, and companies. The NISS officer stated that TRACKS’ involvement in drafting reports on the human rights situation in Sudan for international organisations, such as the United Nations were an attempt to bring down the Sudanese regime and aimed to causing economic harm to Sudan. Second, they were accused of inciting violence, encouraging armed resistance and being affiliated with ‘armed groups’. This allegation was based partially on a memo found in the office of TRACKS discussing plans for a peaceful protest in September 2011, and for providing human rights trainings to Girifna (We are Fed up) movement, a grass-roots, non-violent movement. Another piece of evidence was TRACKS’ association with the award-winning documentary film ‘Beats of Antonov’, which focuses on the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and the role of music in helping communities affected by the conflict. The NISS officer also accused TRACKS members of ‘meeting with lawyers’ in an attempt to bring down the Sudanese regime ‘using the law’, and accused the defendants’ lawyer, Mr Nabil Adeeb, of being part of such attempts. The prosecution later dismissed the allegations made against Nabil Adeeb.

Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif, Arwa Elrabie, Nudaina Kamal and Adil Bakheit are facing similar charges in separate proceedings, brought after a raid on the offices of TRACKS in March 2015. The TRACKS office has been raided on two occasions by NISS officers, once on 26 March 2015 and on 29 February 2016. In both raids, no search warrants were presented.

The continued judicial harassment of the six human rights defenders in this case takes place against the backdrop of a crackdown on civil society organisations and human rights defenders. The crackdown comes partly in response to a recently launched campaign of peaceful civil disobedience in protest to austerity measures implemented by the government which have caused the price of basic commodities, and in particular medicines, to double. The authorities have arbitrarily detained a number of activists and human rights defenders. Among those recently arrested are Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and Mr Hafiz Idris.

Front Line Defenders condemns the charges brought against TRACKS and its members and affiliates, and reiterates its call to drop the charges and release them.

10 October 2016
Next court hearing of TRACKS

On 29 September 2016, another court hearing about TRACKS case took place at the Central Khartoum Court.

During the hearing, the prosecutor claimed that at the time of the raid that took place on 29 March 2015, TRACKS did not have a license as it expired on 27 march 2015. The organisation has struggled to get it renewed after the first raid. Even though they did pay to renew their registration, it was delayed due to a technical problem.

The judge also discussed evidence against Mustafa Adam, Director of Zarqa Organisation for Rural Development, who was just visiting when the raid happened, and Arwa Al-Rabie.

The date of the next session is 13 December.

7 October 2016
European Parliament calls for release of TRACKS activists

On 6 October 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Sudan, expressing concern with regard to the increased crackdown by the NISS (National Intelligence and Security Service) on civil society activists. 

The EP condemns the ongoing detention of human rights defenders and journalists in Sudan. It also calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately release the detained HRDs; halt arbitrary detentions; drop all charges that stem from their peaceful activities; let NGOs, such as TRACKS, their affiliates and student activists, conduct their work without fear of reprisals.

Read the full text of the EP resolution here

20 September 2016
Upcoming court hearing of TRACKS

Six human rights defenders affiliated with TRACKS centre (Messrs Khalafalla Mukhtar Alafif, Mustafa Adam, Midhat Hamdan, Hassan Kheiry and Mmes Arwa Elrabie and Imani-Leyla Raye) are charged with criminal offences including “waging war against the State”. If convicted, they might face the death penalty. The next trial will take place at the Central Khartoum Court on 29 September 2016.

Khalafalla Mukhtar Alafif, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan are currently detained in Al Huda prison, Khartoum. Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar is a Sudanese human rights defender and Director of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), which provides and facilitates training on human rights and information technology, among others. Arwa Elrabie is the administration manager at the centre, Midhat A Hamdan is a trainer, Hassan Kheiri is a computer technician, and Imany-Leyla Raye is a student volunteer. Mustafa Adam is the Director of Zarqa Organisation for Rural Development (ZORD), which offers training and workshops on human rights.

On 26 March 2015, approximately ten plain-clothed National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents raided the premises of TRACKS, during the last day of a five day training on “social responsibility and active citizenship”. No search warrant was presented, and computers, laptops and documents belonging to TRACKS were confiscated. Following this raid, in May 2015, Khalafalla Mukhtar Alafif was charged with a number of crimes, some of which carry the death penalty, including “criminal conspiracy”, “undermining the constitutional system”, and “waging war against the State”, he was later released on bail.

On 29 February 2016, TRACKS was subjected to a second office raid by NISS officers who again did not produce a warrant. The NISS referred the staff members present to the police station where they were interrogated, verbally abused, ill-treated and threatened. On 22 May 2016, the six members and affiliates of TRACKS were requested to report to the Prosecutor’s Office for questioning in relation to the raid carried-out on 26 March 2015. Arwa Elrabie and Imany-Leyla Raye were both released on bail on 30 May while Hassan Kheiry was released on bail on 7 June. On 15 August 2016, Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan who were being detained at the Prosecutor's Office in a narrow 3x5 metre cell with very low ventilation, were transferred to Al Huda prison. On the same day, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan were charged with similar offences to Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif, as well as a cybercrime offence. Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif's health is reported to be deteriorating rapidly due to a weak heart condition and family visits are only permitted with permission of the Chief Prosecutor, which family members often fail to receive.

A hearing session scheduled for 24 August was postponed to 30 August, which was subsequently adjourned to 4 September. On this day, the prosecution failed to provide any evidence on the case and instead screened private photos and videos of the defenders, which were irrelevant to the case, inside the court as a means of intimidation. The session was first postponed to 22 September 2016 and then to the 29. In addition to the above charges, three others are imposed against Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif, Arwa Elrabie, Nudaina Kamal and Adil Bakheit in another case, as a result of the raid in March 2015. This means that both Khalafalla Mukhat Alafif and Arwa Elrabie are facing the same charges in two different cases.

Front Line Defenders expresses strong concern for the repeated acts of harassment and intimidation against TRACKS and its members, as well as activists associated with the centre, and for the charges brought against them, which it believes to be directly motivated by their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Sudan to:

1. Immediately drop all charges outstanding against TRACKS members and affiliates;

2. Immediately and unconditionally release Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan from detention;

3. Ensure that the treatment of Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4. Allow the above human rights defenders immediate and unfettered access to their families and lawyers;

5. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Sudan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
 

15 July 2016
Upcoming court hearing of human rights defenders Adil Bakheit and Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar

On 18 July 2016, human rights defenders Adil Bakheit and Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar will both appear before the Khartoum Central Criminal Court. They are charged with seven criminal offences including “waging war against the State”. Khalafalla has been held at the Prosecutor’s Office in Khartoum since 22 May 2016, along with his colleagues Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan. The charges pertain to a training organised by TRACKS on social responsibility.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Adil Bakheit is a Sudanese human rights defender,  member of the Board of Trustees of Sudanese Human Rights Monitor (SHRM),  which documents human rights violations in Sudan, provides legal assistance to victims of State abuse and defends minorities in Sudan. Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar is a Sudanese human rights defender and director of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), which provides and facilitates training on human rights and information technology, among others.

On 26 March 2015, approximately ten plain-clothed National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents raided the premises of TRACKS during the last day of a five day training on “social responsibility and active citizenship”. No search warrant was presented, and computers, laptops and documents belonging to TRACKS were confiscated.

On 16 April 2015, Adil was arrested and charged with “joint acts in the execution of criminal conspiracy, criminal conspiracy, undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the State, calling for opposition to public authority by use of violent or criminal force, publication of false news, and impersonating a public servant”. The offences of waging war against the state and undermining the constitutional system carry the death penalty. On 3 June 2015  he was released on bail. Later in May 2015, Khalafalla was charged with the same above-mentioned offences.

On 29 February 2016, TRACKS was subjected to a second office raid, by NISS officers who again did not produce a warrant. The NISS referred the staff members present to the police station where they were interrogated, verbally abused, ill-treated and threatened.

On 22 May 2016, Khalafalla, Mustafa Adam, Midhat A Hamdan and their colleagues Nudaina Kamal, Arwa Elrabie, Imany-Leyla Raye, Hassan Kheiry, Khuzaini El Hadi, and Al Shazali Ibrahim Al Sheikh were requested to report to the Prosecutor’s Office for questioning in relation to the raid carried-out on 26 March 2015. Nudaina Kamal was released shortly after her arrest on the same day, Arwa Elrabie and Imany-Leyla Raye were both released on bail on 30 May, Hassan Kheiry, Khuzaini El Hadi and Al Shazali Ibrahim Al Sheikh were released on 7 June. However, Khalafalla, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan are still detained at the Prosecutor's office, in a narrow 3x5 metre cell with very low ventilation.  Khalafalla's health is reported to be deteriorating rapidly due to a weak heart condition and family visits are only permitted with permission of the Chief Prosecutor, which family members often fail to receive.

Front Line Defenders expresses strong concern for the repeated acts of harassment and intimidation against TRACKS and its members, as well as activists associated with the Centre, and for the charges brought against Adil Bakheit and Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar, which it believes 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 drop all charges outstanding against Adil Bakheit and Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar;

2. Immediately and unconditionally release Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan from detention;

3. Ensure that the treatment of Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar, Mustafa Adam and Midhat A Hamdan, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4. Allow the above human rights defenders immediate and unfettered access to their families and lawyers;

5. 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.

27 May 2016
Human rights defenders unlawfully charged and arbitrarily detained

Human rights defenders Mr Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar and Mr Adil Bakheit are currently being detained at the Prosecutor’s Office in Khartoum, following their arrest on 22 May 2016. The human rights defenders were arrested in relation to charges against them for a training they attended in March of last year. The training was held at the premises of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), of which Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar is the Director. Both human rights defenders are facing serious criminal charges including “undermining the constitutional system” and “waging war against the State”, considered as crimes against the State and punishable by the death penalty.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar is a Sudanese human rights defender and director of TRACKS, a Khartoum-based organisation which provides and facilitates trainings on a variety of topics ranging from human rights to information technology. Adil Bakheit is a Sudanese human rights defender and a member of the Board of Trustees of Sudanese Human Rights Monitor organisation (SHRM), a Khartoum-based human rights group and member organisation of the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, documenting human rights violations in Sudan, providing legal assistance to victims of State abuse and working on the defence of minorities in Sudan.

Human rights defenders Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar and Adil Bakheit, along with eight staff members and activists associated with the Centre are currently being detained in the office of the Prosecutor for State Security in Al-Amarat district, Khartoum since 22 May 2016. The two human rights defenders and two staff members, Ms Nudaina Kamal and Mr Hassan Kheiry, were requested to report to the aforementioned office after a court hearing at the Khartoum Central Criminal Court on 22 May 2016, following a summons they received on 19 May 2016. The hearing was postponed until 8 June 2016 and all four remain in detention. No charges have yet been filed against the two staff members and no official reason has been given for the summons they received. A further nine staff members were summoned to report to the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) after the court session, eight of which are in detention.

Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar's health is reported to be deteriorating rapidly due to a weak heart condition. He was quickly transferred to the Police Hospital on 25 May 2016 before being placed in a narrow cell at the Prosecutor’s office, which he shares with the other male TRACKS detainees, including trainers Hassan Kheiry and Midhat A Hamdan, office supervisor Al Shazali Ibrahim Al Sheikh, accountant Khuzaini El Hadi, Mustafa Adam and a guest of the centre. The two female staff members, volunteer Imani-Leyla Raye and administration manager Arwa Ahmed Elrabie were requested to stay in the reception area and are held in a different office room during the night. Ms. Nudaina Kamal was released shortly after her arrest as she is on maternity leave.

Both Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar and Adil Bakheit are facing seven serious charges under the 1991 Criminal Act including “joint acts in the execution of criminal conspiracy, criminal conspiracy, undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the State, calling for opposition to public authority by use of violent or criminal force, publication of false news, and impersonating a public servant.” The Prosecutor for Crimes against the State in charge of the case can sentence the detainees to the death penalty under Article 50 for “undermining the constitutional system” and Article 51 for “waging war against the State”. The charges pertain to a raid on TRACKS offices last year for organising a training on social responsibility.

TRACKS was subjected to a second office raid on 29 February 2016, by plain-clothed NISS agents who did not produce a warrant. They confiscated staff members' passports, which have not yet been returned, and referred them to the police station where they were interrogated, verbally abused, ill-treated and threatened. The raid was carried out in connection with the case brought against the Director of TRACKS, following the previous raid on 26 March 2015.

Front Line Defenders expresses grave concern for the detention and criminal charges brought against Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar and Adil Bakheit, which it believes to be solely motivated by their peaceful work in the defence of human rights. It also expresses concern at the recent pattern of judicial harassment and unlawful investigations which have been intensely increasing over the past few months, against human rights defenders and organisations, as well as the increased use of arbitrary detention by the NISS as a tool for the repression of the work of human rights defenders in Sudan.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the Republic of the Sudan to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defenders Khalafalla Alafif Mukhtar and Adil Bakheit, and all staff members of TRACKS and drop all charges against them, as Front Line Defenders believes that they are being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Ensure that their treatment, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Immediately return the passports of staff, trainers, as well as visitors to the Centre, and refrain from any further harassment of the human rights organisation;

4. 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.

24 March 2016
Seizure of passports and harassment of members of the organisation TRACKS

Passports of human rights defenders, members of the Khartoum Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), have been seized and remain in the possession of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum. Between 3 and 13 March 2016, human rights defenders from TRACKS, and activists associated with the Centre, were summoned to report to the office of the NISS in Khartoum, where they were interrogated, verbally abused, ill-treated and threatened. They have been warned to expect summons for further interrogation. These events follow a raid on the Centre on 29 February 2016, in which the passports of human rights defenders and activists associated with the Centre, as well as their laptops and documents, were confiscated by the NISS.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

On 12 March 2016, the Administration Manager of TRACKS was questioned at the office of the NISS in Khartoum. She was reportedly beaten on the head and threatened with electronic shocks if she did not reveal the whereabouts of a TRACKS volunteer of Cameroonian citizenship. The volunteer was summoned later on the same date, and questioned for two days, during which time her passport was confiscated. Three other TRACKS employees, along with two of its trainers and three visitors to the Centre, were summoned on 3 March 2016 and reportedly ill-treated and verbally abused at the NISS office. All of the individuals summoned were questioned about the activities of TRACKS and their relationship with the Al Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), an organisation that was forcibly closed down by the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in 2012.

The raid of 29 February was carried out by plain-clothes NISS agents who did not produce a warrant. Laptops and phones, as well as documents, publications and books were confiscated during the raid. Staff members present were forced to disclose passwords of their phones and computers to the NISS agents, who confiscated the passports of staff, trainers, volunteers and visitors at the Centre. Subsequently, the Director and Supervisor of TRACKS, as well as the Director of Al Zarqaa, a civil society organisation who had been visiting the Centre, were taken to the NISS office in Khartoum and detained. The Supervisor from TRACKS and the Director of Al Zarqaa were released after 11.00 pm on the same day, while the Director of TRACKS was released several hours later.

This raid was carried out in connection with a case brought against the Director of TRACKS, following a previous raid on the Centre on 26 March 2015. Subsequent to the raid, the Director, along with another human rights defender, was summoned and charged with seven criminal offenses, including two crimes against the State for organising a training on social responsibility at the TRACKS office.

Front Line Defenders expresses strong concern for the repeated acts of harassment and intimidation against TRACKS and its members, as well as activists associated with the Centre, and for the charges brought against the Director of TRACKS, which it believes 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 return the passports of staff, trainers, volunteers from TRACKS, as well as visitors to the Centre, and refrain from any future harassment of the human rights organisation, 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. Immediately drop all charges outstanding against the Director of TRACKS, as Front Line Defenders believes they are directly motivated by his peaceful and legitimate human right work;

3. 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.