Sudan: Committee of Investigation into security forces actions' in universities must be effective

'To be effective, the investigation must be independent, impartial and thorough, and the Committee must publicly report and in full at the end of the inquiry,' Amnesty International said.

Between 19 and 22 October 2002 riot police and security forces used rubber bullets, tear gas and batons to disperse two separate student demonstrations in Bahr al-Ghazal University in Khartoum and Khartoum University. Many demonstrators were injured and more than 70 students from Khartoum University and Bahr al-Ghazal University were arrested. Most were released within 48 hours but some of those arrested reported that they were beaten with hoses and shaved of facial hair while under arrest.

Yaser Mohamed El Hassan Osman, assistant registrar of Khartoum Medical School, was arrested on 26 October and released two days later. During his detention, the security forces reportedly stood upon his chest and bladder. In addition they beat him with an iron bar until he became unconscious. He is currently in intensive care at Khartoum Hospital following his release from detention.

Amnesty International said the formation of a committee of investigation comprising representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the security forces, and the University of Khartoum does not go far enough. The organisation insisted that to be effective, the committee of investigation must fulfill the following criteria:

- It should be composed of men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights known for their integrity and impartial judgement, independent of the government.

- It should have the powers to compel the attendance of witnesses, including members of the security forces, and to protect witnesses, including those who complain about actions of the security forces.

- Its mandate must be enlarged to include demonstrations in the University of Bahr al-Ghazal and the treatment of students in detention centres. The mandate should include consideration of future changes in law, procedures and training of security forces.

- It should issue a public report as soon as possible after the conclusion of its work containing its findings, conclusions and recommendations

'In the past, committees of inquiry have been announced, but no report has been made public and no action has been taken afterwards,' Amnesty International said.

'A thorough investigation with a public report is a necessity for real change in the practices of the security forces,' the organisation added.

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