By Ryan Aliman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
KHARTOUM, Sudan – According to a press release by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) the Sudanese national security service reportedly detained and tortured student protesters last week.
Members of the national security service arrested high school students in Nyala, a city in South Darfur. Although a number of these students were released a week after they were brought to custody, they claim that they were tortured and beaten up.
According to some of the students, the security officers would burn them with electric shocks using water and car batteries — a torture method they referred to as “water fire”. Officers would also use acid to burn their skin, leaving permanent marks on their bodies. Other protesters said that they were were hung upside down from the roof while being verbally insulted.
On the day the national security service released the students, the agency allegedly threatened to kill the demonstrators’ relatives if they pressed charges. One source mentioned that the security officers told them, “no one can counter us and have us arrested.”
The government denied the allegations. Instead, it insisted that the detention of the students was necessary primarily because they stole money and documents from an office located in the Hay al-Emtidad neighborhood in Nyala. Some of these documents are said to be confidential in nature; thus, would have compromised national security had these been exposed to the public.
Families of the detainees, however, believe a different reason behind the arrests and torture. When interviewed by Radio Dabanga, they said that “the real motive of the students’ arrest was because they were accused of participating in the Nyala protests during the Ramadan holiday this year, and not for stealing, as claimed by the security services.”
Students have also become frequent targets of police arrests recently due to the escalating number of student protests at the Nyala University. On Thursday, Islamist students and students supporting Sudan’s Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) caused a riot at the university premises. Since then, not only did the university ban several student activities indefinitely, it also suspended classes in all faculties for one week.
Lawyers, activists and Nyala residents have condemned the “brutal” treatment the national security service gave the students. “The security bodies can’t continue to use this approach when dealing with protesters, as it is not acceptable after the Arab spring. The regime can’t be isolated from the demands of its people, the right to expression and demonstrations. The ANHRI rejects the repression and assassination of demonstrators, in addition to threats against the protesters’ relatives if they file reports,” said the ANHRI last week. In addition, the human rights agency called for an immediate investigation by the Sudanese government “to hold those responsible accountable and ensure justice.”
For further information, please see:
Radio Dabanga – Student detained by Nyala security services – 29 November 2012
International Freedom of Expression Exchange – Security forces in Sudan torture high school demonstrators – 28 November 2012
All Africa – Sudan: Nyala University Suspends Classes and Bans Student Activities – 26 November 2012
All Africa – Sudan: Students From Rival Parties Riot in Nyala – 23 November 2012
All Africa – Sudan: Students Reportedly Tortured in Nyala – 17 November 2012
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information – Torture with Acid Water: NISS tortures high school students in Nyala – 16 November 2012