This statement was originally published on africafex.org on 22 June 2016.
The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) demands Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to immediately release the eight students who have been detained incommunicado without charges.
On May 3, 2016, 17 students were expelled from the University of Khartoum following a protest held on April 27, 2016 on the university campus. Two students were reportedly shot dead by agents of the NISS during the said protest.
On May 5, eight of the 17 expelled students went to the office of prominent Sudanese lawyer, Nabil Adib, to seek legal assistance regarding their expulsion by the university's authorities. Plainclothes armed men reported to be NISS agents, raided Nabil's office in Khartoum and picked up the eight students.
“The men presented themselves as NISS agents though they did not produce any identification or search warrant. They beat my clients and arrested them”, Nabil indicated in a public statement.
The whereabouts of the students in question is still unknown.
According to the National Security Act (NSA) 2010, the NISS has the power to detain suspects for over four and a half months without trial, which is excessive in relation to international human rights standards.
The arbitrary detention of the students for over 40 days (May 5-June 22, 2016) without trial and denying them access to their families is unlawful and unacceptable. It violates their rights to access fair trial as stipulated by Article 34 of the Interim National Constitution of Sudan and it is contrary to Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which according to international law, supersedes the provisions of a national law. Sudan signed the ICCPR on March 18, 1986.
AFEX calls on the Sudanese security agency to release the students immediately. The detained students were exercising their political and civic rights to peaceful assembly and expression which is guaranteed by Article 40 (1) of the Sudan's Interim Constitution.
We also urge the Sudanese authorities to ensure that all eight students have access to lawyers, medical treatment and to their families.
Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
Journaliste en danger
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda
National Union of Somali Journalists
West African Journalists Association