Sudan: prisoner release 'barely scratches the surface'

The release of seven prisoners in Sudan overnight after yesterday’s announcement of a prisoner amnesty has been described by Amnesty International as “barely scratching the surface”.

The releases still leave dozens of people arbitrarily detained in the country, some of them prisoners of conscience.

Of the seven released, six were prominent members of political parties - Abdulaziz Khaled, Entisar al-Agali, Hisham al-Mufti, Abdulrahim Abdallah, Mohammed Zain Alabidein and Youssef al-Kauda.  Hatim Ali, a youth activist, was also released.  Amnesty had been calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Meanwhile, over 118 people reportedly remain in arbitrary detention in the context of the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan conflicts, including women detained without charges with their infant Children's rights. In addition, a number of individuals remain on death row for their involvement in armed opposition. None of their sentences have been commuted.

Amnesty International Africa Director Netsanet Belay said:

“This prisoner amnesty barely scratches the surface.

“Only seven political prisoners have been released. Meanwhile, dozens of people remain in arbitrary detention, some of them prisoners of conscience.

“Freeing seven political prisoners does not indicate the government is truly serious about ending arbitrary detention and releasing prisoners of conscience.”

Meanwhile, the Sudanese authorities continue to resist calls to repeal the country’s 2010 National Security Act, legislation which provides agents of the security services with wide powers of arrest and detention. Torture and other ill-treatment also remain widespread in Sudan.
 

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