Freedom for money… Darfurians under arbitrary detention and extortion
Sudan Tribune: Private
The Darfur Bar Association said that hundreds of citizens of the region were arrested without legal basis, and that some of these arrests were carried out by a committee linked to the paramilitary Rapid Support Force.
Al-Sadiq Ali Hassan, Chairman of the Darfur Lawyers Association Board of Trustees, confirmed to the Sudan Tribune: “Dozens of people were arrested in Ardamta Prison in El-Geneina as part of arbitrary arrest campaigns led by a Rapid Support Force Colonel called Musa Ambello, who is the head Tribal Reconciliation Committee in the Rapid Support Force.” .
The ex-prisoner, who was released, told the “Sudan Tribune” and asked to conceal his identity for security reasons and fear of reprisals, that he was arrested on the orders of “Abdul Rahim Dagal”, the brother of “Mohamed Hamdan Hamidti,” the commander of the Rapid Action Force. support.
The arrests came against the backdrop of ongoing tribal clashes in the region, in which those arrested are accused of participating, and their lawyers say many of them had nothing to do with the events and were taken from their farms.
Why is that important?
Prisoners and human rights activists claim that the arrests are carried out by the Rapid Support Force and that the detainees are subjected to financial deals in exchange for their release, while the authorities in the Darfur region deny this and keep the matter under wraps.
Money for freedom
Lawyer “Al-Sadiq Hassan” told the Sudan Tribune: “Some of the detainees from the North Darfur state paid sums of money before they were released, and most of the detainees in this state were released, either from the Shala prison in El-Fasher or the Prison Al-Huda in Omdurman. They are deployed between Shallah Prison and El Fasher Central and Southern Police Stations, and are involved in open reports during events in the Malaqat area.”
A private source and former detainee, who spoke to the Sudan Tribune, denied that he had personally bargained for freedom in exchange for money, but confirmed the experiences of other detainees from North Darfur who bargained on that basis and paid sums of money after which were released from prison.
The governor of North Darfur, Nimr Abdel Rahman, has refused to release state prisoners in Al-Huda prison in exchange for a sum of £500,000.
“These accusations are propaganda,” al-Wali told the Sudan Tribune earlier. “Any person who has witnesses or evidence to prove it can make it up, and we will take action against those who practice it.”
On 10/10/2022, a group of prisoners was released according to the instructions of the Governor of North Darfur. 14 of them, all of them were members of the people’s committee representing the people of the “Malaqat” region.
Detainees who were exposed to extortion and bought their freedom with money, do not want to speak publicly about their experiences, and none of them dares to give evidence or testimony about it in a very fragile and changing security situation.
However, the deputy head of the Darfur Lawyers Association, Nafisa Hajar, gave a statement about these facts to the Sudan Tribune: “We have conducted an investigation on the matter and we have met with dozens of prisoners inside the prison, and we have investigated the cases of some of them who bargained for their freedom, and they were released in exchange for monetary sums.” .
Lawyer Hajar said: “We interviewed one of the prisoners in the prison and he told us that his brother has already paid a certain amount of money and has been released, while he is still waiting because he cannot pay the required amount.”
She added: “These people were arrested by the Rapid Support Force. These amounts of money go to those who detained them and put them in prisons without due process with the police or the prosecution.”
How did the events in North Darfur begin?
An eyewitness, whose name has not been revealed, who hails from the Malaqat area of North Darfur, said: “The events began on 15/08/2022 when two men, of Arab origin, were found murdered. Their bodies were dumped on the main road that connects the city Kutum Damra Karir.
A witness told the Sudan Tribune: “On the same day, armed groups of Arab tribesmen invaded the Malaqat area, killing 6 people from the Tunjur ethnic group and injuring 11 others, before they started burning and looting, causing local residents to flee . .
He pointed out that the attackers met with the mayor of the city in advance and claimed that some of the locals were responsible for the murder of the two men.
Who led the attack on Malaqat in Kutum?
According to details obtained by the Sudan Tribune: A day after the incident, a committee of seven civil administrations, representing the people of the region who witnessed the attack, met with the governor of North Darfur, Nimra Muhammad Abdel Rahman, and accompanied him on a field tour of the town of Kutum and from there to the area event, where he got involved. They are all in meetings with senior police and security officials in Kutum.”
The witness said: “The chief of police in the Kutum locality assured the crowd that the armed attackers who attacked the village were Rapid Support Forces, and told them that they would be found there, still stationed on the ground at the scene of the incident. incident.
According to information provided by Sudan Tribune from private sources, the governor and his accompanying delegation, when they arrived in the “Malaqat” area, discovered that “Abdul Rahim Dagalo” was ahead of them, so they met with him and presented the story of what happened from his point of view.
Arrest of board members
A source who witnessed the meeting described how members of the Malaqat committee were arrested, saying: “The committee spoke on behalf of the people of the region, and its members began to present their demands, which were limited to the need to ensure security and work to ensure return and security those who are running away from people, and connect the area to the communication network and facilitate the arrival of humanitarian organizations that provide first aid and assistance to the needy. During these deliberations, “Abdul Rahim Daglo” ordered the arrest of the group.
The group was escorted to the city of Kutum, according to the source, where the police filed criminal charges against some of them under Articles 64, 66 and 160 of the Criminal Code, the first of which refers to inciting hatred, contempt and enmity because of race, skin color or language. and the second relates to spreading false news Article 160 relates to insults and insults.
From El Fasher to Al Huda Prison
The 14 prisoners, who were members of the committee that was formed in the “Malaqat” area, spent four days in silent detention before being sent to El Fasher prison, and from there, on 31/8/2022, to Al Hud. Omdurman prison, where 64 prisoners from Darfur who were detained in similar cases were joined by two more men, bringing the number inside Al-Huda prison to 80, according to statistics obtained by the Sudan Tribune.
Over the past three years, the authorities of West Darfur have carried out massive campaigns to arrest a large number of members of tribes associated with tribal conflicts in the state. Some of them were transferred to prisons in Khartoum and Port Sudan, and some of them were later released.
According to statistics provided by the Darfur Bar Association to the “Sudan Tribune”, the number of prisoners from West Darfur state in Al-Huda Prison has reached 22. They were arrested in April 2021 in the town of El-Geneina. They spent 20 months in prison. detention without any criminal proceedings against them, while there are still about 109 prisoners in Port Sudan prison and 77 prisoners in “Ardamta” prison in El Geneina, all of whom are from West Darfur.
On Friday, December 16, 2022, the Darfur Lawyers Association announced that authorities have released 41 prisoners from Al-Huda Prison in Khartoum, Port Sudan and Ardmita, West Darfur State.
The statement said 21 inmates in Al-Huda prison told authorities that the governor of West Darfur, Khamis Abdullah Abkar, visited the prison today, Friday, and released them. They don’t know where to go while only 6 of them have relatives in Omdurman. .