Sudan: Urgent call for investigation into the custodial death of a Pharmacist whilst in detention in South Darfur
KHARTOUM, Sudan, January 17, 2018–Sudanese authorities should urgently investigate the torture and custodial death of a Pharmacist and alleged ill-treatment and torture of five others accused of misusing emergency drugs at Giraida hospital and selling them to private pharmacies.
On 10 January 2018 at 9 AM, six medical professionals attached to Giraida hospital were arrested by NISS of Giraida, South Darfur and detained without charge for their alleged involvement in the illegal sale of emergency drugs from Giraida hospital, a government hospital, to private pharmacies. Five of the six detainees were released the following day, 11 January. Available information suggests that the detainees were beaten and verbally assaulted by the NISS on their first day in custody.
The individuals who were released include:
Adam Jar Elnabi, physician , Giraida hospital
Salam Ahmed Adam , male, Medical Assistant, Giraida hospital
Mubarek Hassan Osman , male ,Nurse, Giraida hospital
Nor Aldeen Adam Hassan, male, Nurse, Giraida hospital
Mohamed Yagoub Adam, male, Nurse, Giraida hospital
Following their release, the five personnel were ordered to report to the NISS office every day.
Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, a pharmacist at Giraida hospital was held longer in custody and died on 12 January, after spending two days in custody. According to information received, Mr. Ahmed was detained longer on account of his presumed affiliation with the Sudanese Congress Party. Mr. Ahmed is thought to have been severely tortured whilst in custody as his body showed signs of torture, including wounds sustained from a solid object.
On 12 January at 7 PM, the NISS took his body to Giraida Hospital. The Director of Graida hospital contacted Mr. Ahmed’s family to come and receive his body. The family refused to receive the body unless an autopsy was carried out by the hospital. The family reported that they were denied access to criminal form 8, a medical evidence form used in criminal proceedings related to death or grievous hurt.
On 13 January 2018 at 4 AM, the NISS transferred the body of the deceased to Nyala hospital, the main hospital in South Darfur state, under orders from the Commissioner of Giraida municipality. At Nyala hospital a medical report was issued and the findings indicated that Mr. Ahmed died of natural causes. However Mr. Ahmed’s family rejected the findings of the report and insisted that he died as a result of torture suffered whilst in NISS custody.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately investigate the grave allegations and hold those responsible to account. The reported allegations of torture and the circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Ahmed should be the subject of an immediate, thorough, impartial, public and transparent investigation by the Sudanese authorities
The authorities should also guarantee the safety of Adam Jar Elnabi, Salam Ahmed Adam, Mubarek Hassan Osman, Nor Aldeen Adam Hassan and Mohamed Yagoub Adam and cease the harassment of the medical personnel. An investigation should be conducted into the allegations of torture or ill-treatment they faced whilst in custody.
ACJPS reiterates its call for law reform and calls on the Government of Sudan to adopt legislation that defines and criminalises torture in line with international standards including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), provide effective access to justice and adequate reparation to victims of torture, and ensure that confessions obtained under torture are not used or accepted by courts under any circumstances. The Government should expressly denounce the use of torture by security agents to intimidate or extract confessions from persons in their custody.
Sudanese authorities have been consistently implicated in the use of torture as a means of intimidation and to extract confessions. Despite the prohibition of torture in Sudan’s 2005 Interim National Constitution, other legislation, such as the 2010 National Security Act and 1994 Evidence Act, creates conditions rendering detainees extremely vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment. The 2007 Armed Forces Act, 2008 Police Act, and 2010 National Security Act each grant immunities to state actors.
The government of Sudan has repeatedly failed to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into allegations of torture, ill-treatment and has failed to ensure effective remedies or provide reparation to the victims. Even in cases where the immunities mentioned above have been lifted, victims of torture have faced various barriers that make it extremely hard to report cases of torture. ACJPS is not aware of a single case where an alleged perpetrator of torture has been held to account. The ACHPR found in case 379/09 against Sudan that remedies are not available to people tortured by the NISS because the power to lift immunities is at the discretion of the director of the NISS and is not subject to judicial oversight.