Sudan: Four men tortured and held in a hole in the ground, 'Janjawid' and military stand guard

The men were arrested and reportedly tortured in December by members of the Sudanese military and government-backed militia, the ‘janjawid’, who are still guarding the men. A fifth man arrested with them died five or six days after their arrest, reportedly as a result of torture.

The five men were bound by ropes around their wrists and ankles, flogged on the back and beaten around the head with sticks and gun butts. They have reportedly received no medical treatment for the injuries they received while being tortured.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The world’s attention may have been diverted from Darfur, but horrifying human rights abuses, including arrests, torture, killings and forced movement of people from their homes are still taking place.

"Media reports that a bombing raid has killed more than a hundred people this week are alarming. The international community must make Sudan understand that it cannot continue to treat its own citizens this way."

The men were arrested following a bombing raid on Marla by the Sudanese Air Force on 16 or 17 December 2004. No reason was given for their arrest. However, Amnesty International has documented many cases of arrests of people of Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit ethnicity.

The Sudanese authorities perceive these ethnic groups as sympathising with armed opposition groups in Darfur, often only on the grounds of their ethnicity.

Following an earlier attack on Marla between 10 and 12 December 2004, 23 men and three Children's rights from the area were arrested and reportedly tortured. All the detainees needed treatment in hospital for injuries reportedly sustained under torture.

Background

Darfur has been the scene of internal armed conflict since February 2003, when the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against the government because of what they perceived as the lack of government protection for their people and the marginalisation and underdevelopment of the region.

After that, the government gave free rein to the Janjawid nomadic militias to kill and abduct civilians, mainly from the agricultural ethnic groups, and destroy their property. More than 1.65 million people have been forcibly displaced from rural areas to settlements around the towns and villages of Darfur.

Torture has frequently been reported in cases involving detainees suspected of sympathising with the armed opposition groups in Darfur.

Amnesty International knows of at least three other people who died in the custody of the Sudanese security forces in 2004.

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