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Darfur activist dies after arrest, suspected torture

Demonstrators most of whom from Darfur and Sudan hold placards as they protest against human rights violation in front of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, 3 February 2016
Demonstrators most of whom from Darfur and Sudan hold placards as they protest against human rights violation in front of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, 3 February 2016

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 4 February 2016.

In response to the death of Sudanese human rights defender Salah Gamar-Eldin following suspected torture by government security forces, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"Salah Gamar-Eldin was arrested, most likely tortured, and then lost his life for having exercised the fundamental rights of speaking freely and joining a peaceful gathering, rights guaranteed by Sudan's constitution," said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. "The death of this Darfuri human rights defender is a sobering reminder that the Government of Sudan continues to carry out mass human rights abuses in Darfur, as the armed conflict there approaches its 13th year."

Background:

On January 31, 2016, members of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) forcibly entered El-Geneina University in West Darfur and violently dispersed a peaceful student gathering. They arrested Gamar-Eldin at the university. His whereabouts were unknown for the next 24 hours. On February 1, Gamar-Eldin, whose body showed signs of torture, was found unconscious in front of his family's home. He was rushed to hospital, where he died February 1, 2016.

The security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur continues to deteriorate. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP), headed by President Omar Al-Bashir, is demanding the exit of UNAMID and dismantling of displace person camps in Darfur despite escalating violence.

In a January 9 incident, an armed militia attacked Mouli village in West Darfur. The fleeing civilians reached West Darfur's capital, El-Geneina, and demonstrated at the Governor's office on January 10. At the Governor's office, the demonstrators clashed with Sudanese security personnel, who fired live ammunition and tear gas at the crowd of civilians seeking protection. According to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, seven people were killed and 10 injured.

Sudan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

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