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El Sadeg Mohammed Ahmed Haroun

HRD, lawyer
Darfur Bar Association
Democracy Award

El Sadeg Mohammed Ahmed Haroun was a human rights defender and lawyer who provided legal aid to victims of human rights violations. He was also a member of the Darfur Bar Association, an organisation of Sudanese lawyers established in 1995. The association received the 2020 Democracy Award for supporting and providing legal aid to victims of human rights violations in Darfur. He was part of a group of lawyers who filed cases against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, accusing them of horrific attacks on the Krinding IDP camp in El Geneina on 16 January 2021 and 28 April 2022He was killed in El Geneina, West Darfur on 18 June 2023.

The ongoing violence by government forces, pro-government militia groups and anti-government armed group forms the backdrop to continued harassment, arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions and alleged torture of human rights defenders (HRDs) by Sudanese military and security forces. Freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly have been increasingly curtailed. In particular, NGO members, journalists and student activists have been targeted.

Human rights defenders are vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and detention by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The 2010 National Security Act grants the NISS extensive powers to arrest and detain people up to four and a half months without judicial review, and with complete impunity when the detention is arbitrary. Human rights defenders have been held incommunicado, without access to legal representation, and family visits have been refused without reasons. Detained HRDs have been often held in NISS cells that fall outside the jurisdiction of prisons laws and regulations, where they have also suffered ill-treatment and torture.