Sudan: Human rights activist arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture must be immediately released

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
31 May 2018

 

Human rights activist and prisoner of conscience Husham Ali Mohammad Ali must be released from detention in Khartoum immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International said today. Husham Ali was deported from Saudi Arabia this week, arrested upon arrival in Sudan and detained at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) headquarters.

“Having been a courageous political and online activist against torture and corruption Husham Ali is at great risk of torture and other ill-treatment while in the hands of the NISS. Pending his release, he must be granted unfettered access to a lawyer of his choice and to his family,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Husham Ali was arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities in November 2017 and held in solitary confinement until January 2018, when he was moved to shared cell. In March 2018, he was moved from Dhaban prison to Al Shumaisi detention centre, an immigration centre outside Jeddah.

Amnesty International immediately raised alarm on his impending deportation asking the government of Saudi Arabia not to return him to Sudan, where he would be at risk of arrest, torture and other ill-treatment because of his human rights work. He was deported to Sudan on 29 May 2018.

“For at least the second time in two years, Saudi Arabia has violated with impunity the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits nations from returning individuals to countries where they would face risk of human rights violations or abuses,” said Joan Nyanyuki.

Amnesty International continues to call on the Sudanese authorities to urgently ratify the Convention against Torture and repeal or substantially amend all laws, especiallythe National Security Act (NSA) 2010, which foster the horrendous violation of human rights.

Background

Husham Ali worked as a freelance accountant in Saudi Arabia, where he has resided since 2010 after immigrating for work purposes. He also wrote articles for various online forums. A political activist of many years, he took to online platforms in 2013 to expose government corruption.

He also published on torture in detention by the Sudanese authorities and expressed his support for acts of civil disobedience carried out during November and December 2016 in Sudan on his Facebook page.

Amnesty International documented in 2016 and 2017 the detention of three other Sudanese activists residing in Saudi Arabia; Elgassim Mohammed Seed Ahmed, 52, Elwaleed Imam Hassan Taha, 44, and Alaa Aldin al-Difana. They were arrested in Saudi Arabia in December 2016, for their online support to civil disobedience actions in Sudan in November and December 2016.

The three activists were deported to Sudan on 11 July 2017, and were also arrested upon arrival by the National Intelligence and Service Services (NISS) and held at the NISS headquarters in Khartoum North.

The NISS released Elwaleed Imam Hassan Taha and Alaa Aldin al-Difana on 22 August 2017 without a charge. Elgassim Mohamed Seed Ahmed remained in detention until he was released without a charge on 3 October 2017. They told Amnesty International that they had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during detention.