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Sudan Protests: Investigate the custodial death of three University students


The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)

Sudan Protests: Urgent call for investigations into the custodial death of three University students and alleged torture of detainees by NISS.

(13 March 2019) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) calls upon Sudanese authorities to urgently investigate the reported torture and custodial death of three University students who were detained by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) for participating in the ongoing protests. Mr Muhajoob Eltaj Muhajoob, a 25-year-old student from Khartoum died on 24 December 2018 shortly after being detained on the same day by NISS of Khartoum. Reliable information indicates that he was subjected to torture including beatings on different parts of his body using horse pipes and sticks while in NISS custody.

In January 2019, ACJPS documented the custodial and suspicious deaths of two students arrested for participating in peaceful protests by NISS in Khartoum and Al Gaderef states. The dead bodies of both students retrieved from River Nile in Khartoum and Al Gederef hospital had serious marks of torture. One of the deceased students had a bullet wound in his mouth and his hair was shaven off.

We call on the Government of Sudan to immediately investigate the grave allegations and hold those responsible to account. The allegations of torture and the circumstances leading to the death of the three students should be subjected to an immediate and effective investigation by an independent and impartial commission. This process should be public and transparent. And if there is sufficient evidence, suspected perpetrators should be charged and prosecuted in fair proceedings which comply with international standards of fair trial.

ACJPS is deeply concerned for the physical safety and well-being of 48 University students who remain in NISS custody since protests broke out on December 19 2018, given reports about the torture and ill-treatment. The students were arrested during raids on students’ residence by NISS in the states of Khartoum, Sennar and Port Sudan among others for actual or suspected participation in the ongoing peaceful protests.

Of particular concern is the suspected torture, ill-treatment and continued incommunicado detention of 30 Darfuri university students without charge since 23 December 2018 by the NISS in Khartoum. The students were arrested after a house raid by NISS in Sennar and transferred to an unknown location in Khartoum. On the same day, the Director of the NISS held a press conference stating that the detained students were members of an armed Darfuri movement (SLA/ Abdelwahid) that had received training from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency and that they had been sent to infiltrate the protests. Videos broadcasted on Sudan TV and other government-affiliated television channels showed the detained students confessing to instigating the demonstrations with clear signs of beatings and fatigue. 30 of the 33 students have remained arbitrarily detained for about 2 and a half months now. Their incommunicado detention and allegations against them significantly enhance vulnerability to torture and other ill-treatment.

We urge Sudanese authorities to immediately take measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all detainees and order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international standards. If such charges exist, the detainees should be brought promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times.

Despite the prohibition of torture in Sudan’s 2005 Interim National Constitution, other legislation, such as the 2010 National Security Act and the 1994 Evidence Act, creates conditions rendering detainees extremely vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment. The 2007 Armed Forces Act, 2008 Police Act, and 2010 National Security Act each grant immunities to state actors.

ACJPS therefore reiterates its call for law reform and calls on the Government of Sudan to adopt legislation that defines and criminalises torture in line with international standards including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), provide effective access to justice and adequate reparation to victims of torture, and ensure that confessions obtained under torture are not used or accepted by courts under any circumstances. The Government should expressly denounce the use of torture by security agents to intimidate or extract confessions from persons in their custody.


Sudanese authorities, especially the NISS have continued to act with impunity, subjecting detainees to torture in complete disregard of the Sudanese National Security Act of 2010 which provides that persons in NISS custody are to be treated in a dignified manner and not to be subjected to physical or moral hurt. Most recently in January 2019, Several peaceful protesters arrested reported being subjected to torture while in NISS custody.

Moreover, the government of Sudan has repeatedly failed to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into allegations of torture, ill-treatment and has failed to ensure effective remedies or provide reparation to the victims. Even in cases where the immunities mentioned above have been lifted, victims of torture have faced various barriers that make it extremely hard to report cases of torture. ACJPS is not aware of a single case where an alleged perpetrator of torture has been held to account. The ACHPR found in case 379/09 against Sudan that remedies are not available to people tortured by the NISS because the power to lift immunities is at the discretion of the director of the NISS and is not subject to judicial oversight.

Sudan has seen a surge of social unrest since December 19 2018, driven initially by an increase in prices of basic commodities but quickly developing into calling for the resignation of President Omar Al Bashir. Sudanese authorities have continued to use excessive force such as firing live bullets and tear gas into crowds to disperse protests. At least 57 peaceful protesters have been killed and hundreds arrested.

On 22 February 2019, President Omar Al Bashir announced a year-long, nationwide state of emergency in a bid to quell the protests that have lasted almost 3 months. The state of emergency among others imposes restrictions on fundamental rights being exercised by the protesters, including their right to peaceful assembly without permission from authorities. Moreover, the establishment of emergency courts and prosecution offices violate the right to a fair trial, which is guaranteed under the Sudanese constitution, regional and international treaties ratified by Sudan.

List of students in detention since December 2018.

ACJPS has obtained the following details of students detained by NISS since 19 December 2018. Where available, dates and locations of arrest have been included.

The following students were arrested on 28 December 2018 during a house raid in Al-Drwshab neighbourhood in Khartoum Buhari by NISS.

  • Abdul Raoof Idris Omer, (m), a student at University of Khartoum.
  • Almahadi Abdulhadi, (m), a student at Alzhari University.
  • Musa Mohamed Idris, (m), graduated from Sudan Technology University
  • Mustafa Mohamed Ishaq Mohamed, (m), a student at Azhari University.
  • Mustasim Mohamed Abu Algasim, (m), a student at Alzhari University.
  • Salih Yagoub Omer, (m), a student at Alzhari University.
  • Suliman Abakar Suliman, (m), a student at Alzhari University.
  • Zain Alabdien Hassan Suliman, (m), a student at Alzhari University.

The following Darfurian students were detained on 23 December 2018 during a raid by NISS on a student’s residence in Sennar. They have been detained ever since.

  • Abdu Hamid Hamid Zakary (m)
  • Abdul Ariziz Hamad Al-Nile (m)
  • Abdul Karien Adam Mohamed Ahmed (m)
  • Abdul Rahman Handuka Harari (m)
  • Abdul-Aziz Omer Ahmed (m)
  • Abu Bakar Adam Musa (m)
  • Ahmed Maki Abdalla Ibrahim (m)
  • Al-Fadil Adam Abdalla (m)
  • Al-Faiq Ibrahim (m)
  • Al-Sadiq Adam Ahmed (m)
  • Amir Ishaq Yahya (m)
  • Ayman Bajhar Noor Turkawi
  • Hassan Abdul-Jabbar (m)
  • Idies (m)
  • Ismail Hassan Abdalla Adam (m) 28. Osman Idis Ibrahim (m)
  • Issa Adam Issa Mohamed (m)
  • Mahdi Abdulrahman Salih
  • Mohamed Ahmed Osman (m)
  • Mohamed Omer (m)
  • Mudathier Abdul Kareem Mohamed Azraq (m)
  • Musab Mhamadien Baraka Tahir
  • Mustafa Abakar Jedo (m)
  • Mustafa Abdul Rahman Yagoub (m)
  • Najam Eldien Jabari (m)
  • Najem Eldien Abdalla Hamid (m)
  • Nasur Eldien Suliman (m)
  • Omer Abakar (m)
  • Zahir Bahari Eldien Mohamed (m)
  • Other students in detention include;
  • Abdul Osman Haman(m), a student, was arrested on 6 January 2019 from Red Sea state.
  • Abukahar Hassan Aijak(m), a student of Red Sea University was arrested on 20 December 2018 from Port Sudan and transferred on an unknown date to Khartoum by NISS.
  • Al Sadigi Mohammed Al Haj(m), a student, was arrested on 22 January 2019 form Kassala.
  • Al-Mulira Abdulgadir(m), a graduate of the faculty of arts in Gaderef University was arrested on 8 January 2019 in Gaderef and was transferred to Khartoum on 10 January 2019.
  • Badur El Rain Salah (m), a student of Khartoum University was arrested on 14 February 2019 from his family home in Al-Abasia Omdurman.
  • Idris Alhaj Ali(m), a student of Red Sea University was arrested on 16 January 2019 by NISS in Kassala state.
  • Jafar Abdul Gadir(m), a university student, he was arrested by NISS of Port Sudan in Red Sea State on 30 January 2019 and was transferred to Khartoum on 6 February 2019.
  • Mohamed Al-Mujtaba Al –Shawish, a student of engineering was arrested on 6 January 2019.
  • Mubarak Musa Juma, a graduate was arrested on 17 January 2019 from Al jeer neighbourhood of Nyala in South Darfur. This was the same date that President Bashir had scheduled his visit to South Darfur.
  • Musa Mohamed Ali, a 25-year-old graduate of Alahlia collage in Red Sea state was arrested on 20 December from inside Kassala University. He is being detained in Kassala prison.
  • Osman Ahamed Osman(m), a student of medicine, was arrested on 17 January 2019.
  • Taha Birar Taha(m), a graduate student of Kassala University was arrested on 22 December 2018 while stepping out of a café located in Althura neighbourhood in Kassala.


Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies ACJPS. (English, Arabic, Swedish): +46764325862,+256779584542.

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