By Hannah Stewart
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
KHARTOUM, Sudan — On the night of January 14, Abdul-Aziz Khalid, Chairperson of the Central Council of the National Sudanese Alliance Party, was arrested at his home by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Reports state that he is being detained incommunicado in an undisclosed location.
Abdul-Aziz Khalid is the sixth political opposition member to be detained by NISS since a coalition of Sudanese political opposition parties and armed rebel groups attended political negotiations in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. Jamal Idris, Enstar Alagali, Professor Mohamed Zain Alabidein, Dr. Abdulrahim Abdalla, and Hisham Al Mufti are also reportedly being detained by the NISS. The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) fears that the six detainees are at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment
At the Kampala meeting on January 7, opposition leaders discussed the overthrow of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s regime in order to institute a national democratic alternative.
President al-Bashir has been under international scrutiny over the years for the events transpiring in Darfur. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two arrest warrants for Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur in 2009 and 2010. The warrants charge him with criminal responsibility on 10 counts, including murder, extermination, forcible transfer of population, torture and rape.
The Kampala negotiations culminated in the adoption of the New Dawn Charter. The charter calls on parties to work together to topple the regime through either “democratic civil peaceful means” or “revolutionary armed struggle.” Abdul-Aziz Khalid signed the “New Dawn” document on behalf of the National Sudanese Alliance Party.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudan has publicly opposed the charter. Sudanese authorities described the signatories as “traitors” and pledged that 2013 would be a year of “decisive action against armed opposition movements.” The authorities also accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni of playing a “dirty role” in the region, asserting that they are aware of his conspiracies.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced the arrest of several opposition party leaders by security forces. ANHRI stated that “the security forces’ harassment of the opposition is a serious violation of basic human rights and their freedom to express their political opinions and stances freely and safely.”
This comes at a time when the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan will hold their second summit in a month. Sudanese President al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir are to meet on January 24, in an attempt to resolve tensions over oil, territory, military concerns and other disputes.
For further information, please see:
Sudan Tribune – Sudanese political opposition leaders detained incommunicado and at risk of torture – 15 January 2013
All Africa – Sudan: Security Forces Arrest Opposition Party Leaders – 9 January 2013
Al Monitor – Sudan Crisis Escalates as Dissidents are Arrested in Khartoum – 9 January 2013
Reuters – Leaders of Sudan, South Sudan to Meet in Second Push for Peace – 15 January 2013