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Sudan, December 22, 2014

Sudanese security raids rights group's office in Khartoum

Original source

Sudan Tribune

Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) forces raided the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) premises on Sunday in the capital, Khartoum.

SOHR, an independent voluntary organisation monitoring violations of human rights in Sudan, was conducting a training workshop for journalists and activists on human rights reporting.

NISS force stormed the Observatory and ordered its administration to stop the lectures, saying the force also searched the building and confiscated staff computers and documents, said SOHR director Nabil Adieb.

One of SOHR founders and former director, Amin Mekki Medani, was arrested this month after his return from Addis Ababa where he signed a political declaration calling for democratic reforms "Sudan Call" with rebel groups.

The Sudanese authorities ban contacts with the rebel groups saying it harm the morale of its troops which fight them in the Two Areas and Darfur region.

The search of SOHR premises is linked to the ongoing investigations with Madani, different sources confirmed to Sudan Tribune.

On a related development, the independent Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said the NISS force detained its member, Mohamed al-Fatih Youssef, who was attending the workshop.

NISS has recently intensified pressure on political parties and civil society organisations that have expressed sympathy with the armed rebel groups.

The government by the end of 2012 closed down different civil society and rights groups, accusing it of receiving foreign funds and collaborating with the opposition groups to overthrow the regime. Last September, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) expressed concern "at reports of violations of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association and of peaceful assembly".

It urged the Sudanese government to further its efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights, in particular to ensure freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and to respect the human rights of all individuals, including human rights defenders and members of civil society organisations.

In a text endorsed on 18 December, the European Union (EU) legislators called on the Sudanese government to release all the political detainees and guarantee public freedoms.

They further urged the Sudanese government to "put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders and political activists and to comply with the relevant international norms and standards".