Bloomberg News

Amnesty International Urges Sudan to Free Human Rights Activist

January 31, 2012

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Amnesty International urged Sudan to free a human rights activist detained without charge since his June arrest in the oil-rich state of Southern Kordofan where government forces are battling rebels.

Bushra Gamar Hussein Rahma, an X-ray technician who founded the Human Rights and Development Organization in Southern Kordofan state, suffers from heart disease and a prolapsed disc that he developed while in Kober prison in Khartoum, the capital, London-based Amnesty said today in an e-mailed statement.

Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services re- arrested Rahma after a judge ordered his release on Aug. 25, Amnesty said. The Sudanese authorities haven’t allowed him access to a lawyer “on the grounds that investigations against him have not been concluded,” it said.

Rahma, an ethnic Nuban, has been on hunger strike twice since September to protest his continued detention, Amnesty said. President Umar al-Bashir’s government has been trying to disarm fighters in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states who fought during a two-decade civil war with the forces of South Sudan, which gained independence on July 9.

Sudan’s human rights record deteriorated last year with the eruption of new armed conflicts and crackdowns on students, rights advocates and the media, New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Jan 22. At least 73 students were arrested last month during a sit-in at Khartoum University to protest police violence and to demand the overthrow of the government.

--Editors: Karl Maier, Dulue Mbachu

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Khartoum at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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