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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sudanese Women Call for Release of Detainees

February 13, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A group of Sudanese women on Sunday demonstrated for the second time in a row this week in the capital Khartoum, demanding the release of dozens of detainees held in custody since anti-government protests erupted last month.

Around thirty women whose relatives and sons have been held in detention since the authorities forcibly dispersed anti-government protests on 30 January gathered outside the premises of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) amid heavy police presence.

The protesting women held placards bearing the pictures of the detainees and slogans calling for their freedom, claiming that they had received reports of them being tortured.

Rabah Al-sadiq said they received information about the torture of the detainees. "We heard they are being sprayed with water and electrocuted," Rahab Al-Sadiq, the daughter of Sudan's former Prime Minister and leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), told AFP on Sunday.
According to Rabaha, the authorities are holding more than 70 protestors.

A similar protest occurred last Friday but the women were quickly contained by the police who briefly detained some of them as they marched towards NISS HQ, including Mariam Al-Sadiq, a leading figure in the NUP and also daughter of Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.
This time, however, the protestors managed to deliver a petition to the NISS demanding that the detainees be freed immediately or charged formally.

The NISS director-general Mohamed Atta Al-Moula met them and pledged to release the detainees on Monday. Nuha Al-Nagar, from the opposition Umma Party told reporters that they decided to suspend their protest to Monday to see whether the security service would respect their promise of not.

Last month's protests were organized by youth groups inspired by the toppling of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt through the use of online media, mainly Facebook. However, the organizers barley managed to assemble few hundreds who were forcibly dispersed by the police using teargas and batons.

The police also arrested dozens in the process, besides eight journalists from the Al-Midan of the opposition Communist Party.

The Sudanese police also broke up today another protest by dozens of journalists gathered outside the National Council for Press and Publications, in Khartoum, demanding the release of detainees from the staff of media outlets and newspapers.

The police seized cameras from journalists who wanted to cover the event, and prevented them from raising any banners demanding the release of their colleagues.

The protesters handed a letter to the press council demanding to secure the release of the detained journalists and to exert more efforts to ensure the respect the freedom of expression for the press.

The ousting of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak on Friday after weeks of mass protests in Egypt further encouraged other Arab nations to stand up to their abusive rulers.

The secretary general of the council El-Obeid Ahmed said the security service told them the journalists of the communist daily are held for activities not related to their profession.

The Sudanese government, which welcomed the “triumph” of the Egyptian revolution, dismissed the possibility of a similar scenario in the country, attributing the downfall of Arab regimes to their alliance with Israel and the U.S.

Sudan is a major cooperator with the US administration in counterterrorism despite being on its list of countries sponsors of terrorism.

The Rest @ The Sudan Tribune

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