Sudan: Release of political activists is not 'a gift from the government'
Following news that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the release at least 56 opposition activists after they spent up to 84 days in arbitrary detention for protesting against the escalating cost of food and healthcare, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, said:
“We welcome the news of their release, but there is no place to treat the release of arbitrarily detained activists as a gift from the government. These detentions should never have happened at all in the first place and the government does not deserve congratulations.
“For close to three months, the lives, families and livelihoods of each of the detainees had come to a standstill - just because they peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression.
“The Sudanese authorities should ensure that all those still arbitrarily detained are released and no such detentions should happen in the future. Sudan should further ensure that torture and all other forms of ill-treatment also do not happen. Several of these detainees were subjected to ill-treatment in detention.”
In January, the Government of Sudan cracked down on activists protesting against escalating living costs. Hundreds were arrested and detained, mainly in the capital Khartoum, without charge or access to lawyers.
They were subsequently held in inhumane, cramped conditions, with more than 20 detainees kept in cells measuring 5m by 7m, or smaller.