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PHR Condemns the Arbitrary Detention and Arrest of Two Human Rights Lawyers in Darfur: Group Fears for Detainees' Safety and Calls for their Immediate Release

For Immediate Release

PHR strongly condemns the detention and arrest on May 16th of two human rights lawyers in Darfur and calls on the Government of Sudan to release them unharmed in the absence of legitimate charges, or to formally charge them and assure them a fair and impartial trial. Coming on the heels of the Darfur Peace Accord, this is an extremely disconcerting action by the Sudanese Government.

On the morning of 15 May 2006, officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) in Nyala, Southern Darfur state reportedly summoned for questioning Mr. Mossaad Mohamed Ali, lawyer and Coordinator of Amel Centre in Nyala, and Mr. Adam Mohammed Sharief, member of Amel Network of Lawyers in Nyala.

The two men were detained for 13 hours in a cell at the NSB offices and were eventually released at 10 pm the same night. Neither man was questioned during his detention, nor was either charged with an offense. Mr. Ali's family reported that he was quite ill when he returned home, suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief were again summoned to security offices the following day, where they were arrested and still remain in detention. The two have been denied legal counsel and access to representatives of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, and have not been able to communicate with their families.

The Government has not given any reason for their detention and subsequent arrest. The Sudanese Organization Against Torture, a London-based human rights group, has stated that Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief were arrested solely for their activities as human rights defenders and as lawyers.

PHR is gravely concerned about the welfare of Mr. Mossaad Mohamed Ali and Mr. Adam Mohammed Sharief and fears that

they may be subjected to torture and ill treatment. PHR calls upon the Sudanese Government to:

  1. Release Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief immediately in the absence of legitimate charges, or announce their charges and allow them a fair, impartial trial.
  2. Allow Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief access to medical treatment, legal counsel, and to their families.
  3. Give assurances that the men will not be subjected to torture or ill treatment.
  4. Stop the intimidation and arrest of human rights activists and lawyers in Sudan.
  5. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Sudan in accordance with national laws, the National Interim Constitution and international human rights laws and standards.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

Deputy Director, Media & Communications1.917.679.0110

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