Sudan torturing activists in new crackdown: Amnesty

AFP , Saturday 12 Nov 2011

The Sudanese government has arrested more than 100 opposition activists in and around Khartoum in recent weeks, subjecting many of them to torture, Amnesty International charges

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Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses a rally of soldiers in the capital Khartoum.(Photo / archive : Reuters)

In October alone, over 100 people were arrested in and around Khartoum, the capital. Many of those arrested have stated that they were subjected to torture or other ill treatment in detention," Amnesty International, the human rights group, said in a statement released late on Friday. A government spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the allegations.

Among those arrested were members of the opposition group Youth for Change demonstrating peacefully against high food prices, an 85-year-old member of banned opposition party the SPLM-North, and members of legal opposition parties.

After one demonstration against high electricity and water prices, in the town of Masudiya, south of Khartoum, more than 22 people were arrested, including a mentally disabled man who was beaten in custody, and a 13-year-old boy who was subjected to 20 lashes, Amnesty said.

During a meeting of opposition parties on October 21, more than 10 people were arrested by Sudanese security officers, one of whom, a Communist Party member, told the rights group they were forced to go for three days without food or sleep.

Amnesty criticised the 2010 National Security Act, which it said provides the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) with powers to search and seize assets, and to detain people for up to four and a half months without judicial oversight.

In September, Human Rights Watch accused the Khartoum government of intensifying a crackdown on political opponents, and highlighted the risk of torture for those detained by the feared NISS.

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