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For Immediate Release

PHR Condemns the Arbitrary Detention and Arrest of Two Human Rights Lawyers in Darfur: Group Fears for Detainees' Safety and Calls for their Immediate Release

Cambridge, Mass - 05/19/2006

PHR strongly condemns the detention and arrest on May 16th of two human rights lawyers in Darfur and calls on the Government of Sudan to release them unharmed in the absence of legitimate charges, or to formally charge them and assure them a fair and impartial trial. Coming on the heels of the Darfur Peace Accord, this is an extremely disconcerting action by the Sudanese Government.

On the morning of 15 May 2006, officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) in Nyala, Southern Darfur state reportedly summoned for questioning Mr. Mossaad Mohamed Ali, lawyer and Coordinator of Amel Centre in Nyala, and Mr. Adam Mohammed Sharief, member of Amel Network of Lawyers in Nyala.

The two men were detained for 13 hours in a cell at the NSB offices and were eventually released at 10 pm the same night. Neither man was questioned during his detention, nor was either charged with an offense. Mr. Ali's family reported that he was quite ill when he returned home, suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief were again summoned to security offices the following day, where they were arrested and still remain in detention. The two have been denied legal counsel and access to representatives of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, and have not been able to communicate with their families.

The Government has not given any reason for their detention and subsequent arrest. The Sudanese Organization Against Torture, a London-based human rights group, has stated that Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief were arrested solely for their activities as human rights defenders and as lawyers.

PHR is gravely concerned about the welfare of Mr. Mossaad Mohamed Ali and Mr. Adam Mohammed Sharief and fears that

they may be subjected to torture and ill treatment. PHR calls upon the Sudanese Government to:

  1. Release Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief immediately in the absence of legitimate charges, or announce their charges and allow them a fair, impartial trial.
  2. Allow Mr. Ali and Mr. Sharief access to medical treatment, legal counsel, and to their families.
  3. Give assurances that the men will not be subjected to torture or ill treatment.
  4. Stop the intimidation and arrest of human rights activists and lawyers in Sudan.
  5. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Sudan in accordance with national laws, the National Interim Constitution and international human rights laws and standards.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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