Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Silenced Before you Speak

A few hours ago, I went to an event about political detainees in Sudan at the Sudanese Monitor for Human Rights, an independent venue where the National Consensus (the coalition that brings Sudanese opposition parties together) holds its event and press conferences.

The event was organized by the National Consensus and the speakers were Mr. Kamal Omer-a well-known lawyer and leading figure in the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Eng. Khalid Omer Yousif- a leading member in the Sudanese Party and blogger and Professor Mohamed Zain Al Abdeen, a politician and university professor released on Monday after being held by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) for ten days.

First, we were informed that Professor Al Abdeen could not make it because the Press and Publications security called him and asked him to come for a meeting at 12 p.m. I believe the NISS was mainly trying to sabotage the event by making sure that one of the speakers, a valuable speaker, can not make it to the event.

I arrived early and I was sitting opposite a man wearing a safari suit. I have this theory that most young men wearing safari suits work for the NISS. He was wearing a blue safari suit and he looked out of place. Turns out.....naturally, he does work for the NISS.

He asked one of the organizers about the "main organizers" of this forum , then, he left when he was not given a definite answer. Another NISS officer came back a few minutes later and asked Mr. Kamal Omar, the lawyer and well-known opposition figure to step outside.

We all jokingly told Mr.Omar " you will get arrested,"

Mr. Omar came back and said, we can't have this forum here.

I was very disappointed and angry, we didn't even start the forum and they are canceling it!

We decided that we have to find a way to hold this event and headed to the Sudanese Communist Party as its a few minutes away from the Monitor.

We ended up having the event at the Communist Party headquarters.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Concern as Sudan Parliament debates espionage laws

Published @

An attempt to introduce tougher espionage law in Sudan is causing jitters among activists, opposition politicians and journalists.

The law, currently before parliament, is seen as an attempt to further muzzle the freedom of the press in a country whose freedom rakings are already bad.

"Before, the case was against me and the security apparatus, now the public opinion will be involved and it will be galvanised against the so-called 'spies', " said a veteran journalist and activist who wished to remain unnamed.

A few months ago, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Al Taher, the head of the Parliament, stated that there were many spies in the country, especially in the media sector. Since then, some MPs, encouraged by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), have pushed for a tougher espionage law.

The political section of Kober prison, Sudan's largest and most high-security prison, is reported by former detainees to be full of political inmates, especially opposition party members, students and youth activists.

Experts are warning that journalists and activists would face bigger risk if the law was passed.

The security organ

However, government officials have stated that the law was necessary because of the current situation to protect the country from activities in neighbouring states

Mr Abdelmoniem Mohamed, a lawyer actively involved with youth groups, said that the laws were born out of the regime's failure to solve the many economic, political and social problems arising in Sudan, especially since the Arab Spring waves in neighbouring countries.