Family of Activist Mohamed Salah Calls for his Release
We, the family of Mohamed Salah Mohamed, a 24 year-old Sudanese activist who was arrested on March 20, 2014; express our deepest concern about Mohamed’s wellbeing and call for his immediate release.
Mohamed is a prominent activist and a University of Khartoum graduate. Like so many Sudanese youth, he dedicated all his time to help mobilize Sudanese citizens and achieve their demands for democratization, human rights and regime change. In June 2012, Mohamed was detained for two months, a period in which we, his family, were allowed only one visit. During his detention he was subject to torture and inhumane treatment by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Mohamed suffers from a kidney disease, which was made worse by his 2012 detention, and as result has been admitted to hospital many times (See Mohamed’s testimony about his detention experience here, and our statement before his release here).
After the murder of Ali Abakar on March 11, 2014; a student protestor that was shot inside the University of Khartoum campus, Mohamed, together with hundreds of activists, spent the night at the morgue and attended the funeral and memorial event. During the memorial event, Mohamed gave a speech, where he named and shamed the NISS personnel who were directly involved in Ali’s murder. Since that event, our family home in Khartoum South has been closely under surveillance; at least 10 armed security agents spend the night in front of our house.
Around midnight on March 15, Mohamed’s younger brother, Badreldin Salah, was kidnapped by plain-clothed NISS agents a few meters from our home. He was taken to a dark empty yard in Alshagara neighborhood in southern Khartoum, where he was severely assaulted and tortured. His eyeglasses were broken from the severe beating to his face and head; the NISS personnel stole his brand new mobile phone. He was told that “this is just a message” and he and Mohamed “should be careful from the consequences of their actions”.
On March 20, Mohamed was arrested from Khartoum International Airport. He was on his way to attend a workshop in Tunisia. Our family and friends accompanied him to the departures hall and left after we received a message from his phone stating that he has boarded the aircraft. However, we returned to the airport after other individuals that were on the same flight alerted us that he was not on board. The airline later confirmed that he did not check in to the flight.
After spending four hours going from different NISS office around Khartoum, we got unofficial confirmation that Mohamed was arrested before he proceeded to the check-in counter at the airport. He was kept at the airport for some time—according to some witnesses—and then was taken to an unknown place. In the morning of March 21, our family members went to the NISS headquarters to deliver clothes and personal needs for Mohamed (as we used to do in 2012). However, we were told by the political section of NISS that Mohamed is not in their custody and that “we should look for him elsewhere”. Despite the fact that we got an unofficial confirmation that NISS had arrested him on the previous day, the NISS headquarters office refused to confirm it. They advised us to tour around the NISS offices in the Khartoum to get information on his whereabouts.
The killing, torture, and ill-treatment of Sudanese activists, as well as Mohamed’s own personal experience during his detention in 2012, makes us, his family, extremely worried. The denial of Mohamed’s detention demonstrates the fact that this criminal entity operates completely above the law.
Mohamed believes in civil resistance against the oppression of the National Congress Party regime. He has never shied away from using his constitutionally-guaranteed rights to protest and condemn the brutal acts of Omar al-Bashir’s regime and his security services, which commit war crimes, crimes against humanity all around our beloved country, including the killing of unarmed university students. We are extremely fearful that Mohamed will be subjected to torture and inhumane treatment as he was in 2012.
We call on the NISS and Government of Sudan to:
- Immediately release Mohamed Salah and all political prisoners currently in detention.
- Hold accountable all individuals, agents and officials responsible for crimes committed against the Sudanese people.
- Immediately cease the severe violations of national and international laws and meet its own human rights obligations.
We will continue to pressure the government until we and the Sudanese people achieve our goal of a just, democratic and peaceful Sudan.
And as Mohamed said in his statement after his release in 2012: we will see the day of a just and free Sudan. [They] see that day as being far and [we] see it as being very near.
On behalf of his extended family:
His parents: Zainab Badreldin and Salah Mohamed
His siblings: Walaa and Baderldin Salah.