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30 August 2017

Sudanese HRDs Released After 8 Months Unjust Imprisonment

Front Line Defenders welcomed the pardoning of six human rights defenders in Sudan, including past Front Line Defenders Award Winner Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, all of whom were unjustly imprisoned in the government's ongoing civil society crackdown.

Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Hafiz Idris, Tasneem Taha Zaki, Abdel-mukhles Yousef Ali, Abdelhakim Noor, and Mubarak Adam Abdullah were issued a presidential pardon in Khartoum on 29 August 2017. All six human rights defenders had been charged in criminal case No. 22/2017 as a result of their human rights activities.

"We welcome the news that six human rights defenders, who never belonged behind bars, have been pardoned today following eight months of unjust imprisonment," said Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson. "As the government works to stop our friend Mudawi's powerful pursuit of justice in Sudan, he has been tortured, detained on at least five occasions, threatened and subjected to prosecution on fabricated charges."

"Human rights defenders across the country are facing immense risks and state persecution for their work. Today's release is only the first step in ending Sudan's assault on peaceful activists." - Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson

Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is an internationally recognised human rights defender who was the winner of the inaugural 2005 Front Line Defenders Award for human rights defenders. He is the founder and Chairperson of the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO) and was a participant in the national dialogue in Sudan in 2016. Hafiz Idris is a human rights defender who focuses on the rights and well-being of internally displaced persons in Sudan. Tasneem Taha Zaki is a human rights lawyer who provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses, especially youth and students in El-Fasher.

"Our husband and father never commited the crimes for which he was pardoned," Dr. Mudawi's family told Front Line Defenders. "We are so glad to have him home, but the injustice of the past year - torture, delayed proceeding, false charges - has not been rectified."

Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Hafiz Idris, Tasneem Taha Zaki, Abdel-mukhles Yousef Ali, Abdelhakim Noor, and Mubarak Adam Abdullah were charged in a case known as criminal case No. 22/2017. TCharges included ‘conspiracy to conduct espionage and intelligence activities in favour of foreign embassies’, ‘waging war against the state’, ‘publishing false reports’, ‘undermining the constitutional system’, ‘stirring up sectarian hatred’ and ‘running a terrorist organisation’. A number of irregularities occurred during the course of the case including the retraction of the Prosecutor General of Sudan’s decision on 26 March 2017 to release Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and Hafiz Idris on bail by the newly-appointed Attorney General. Several of the human rights defenders were subjected to incommunicado detention in unknown locations, torture and ill-treatment following their arrest.

Dr. Mudawi had been detained since 7 December 2016, and was released the day of the pardon. At the time of writing, Hafiz Idris, who has been in detention since 24 November 2016, is still under procedural processing for release. Mubarak Adam Abdullah was also released on 29 August 2017. Abdelhakim Noor and Abdel-mukhles Yousef Ali were released on bail on 14 March 2017, while human rights lawyer Tasneem Taha Zaki was released on bail on 12 March 2017, pending charges.

Front Line Defenders welcomes the pardon and release of the human rights defenders but reiterates its condemnation for the incommunicado detention, torture, ill treatment and prolonged arbitrary detention they endured. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities to immediately release Hafiz Idris, and calls on Sudanese authorities to cease targeting all human rights defenders in Sudan and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

To speak with Front Line Defenders:

Erin Kilbride
+353857423767 (Calls / WhatsApp / Signal)