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28 February 2008

Sudan: Amnesty International appeals for safety of captured Sudanese soldiers

Amnesty International has just published an urgent action appeal on behalf of four Sudanese army officers currently being held by the Darfuri armed opposition group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Amnesty International said that the men’s lives are in danger.

Brigadier-General Kemaleddin, Lieutenant Colonel Ihab, Lieutenant Colonel Mahdi Hamed, and Lieutenant Abdel Moneim Mohammed Zein were all captured by the JEM in Darfur late last year.

Amnesty International recently learned of their condition from three men from a breakaway JEM group who were held with them, but managed to escape after four months in captivity.

“The three escaped men said that they were all held in horrific conditions -- chained hand and foot, fed only once a day and given very little water,” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.

“The JEM soldiers holding them captive threatened to kill them. During JEM attacks, all seven men were put in a truck that drove ahead of the attacking force – leaving them at great risk of being blown up by mines or shot in crossfire. This is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions,” said Hondora.

Amnesty International called on JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim to ensure that anyone captured by JEM forces is treated humanely, and to remove soldiers who order or carry out humiliating or degrading treatment of detainees from their posts.

Background information
A joint UN and African Union peacekeeping force, UNAMID, is in Darfur and most armed groups are now maintaining a ceasefire.

However, the main branch of JEM, led by Khalil Ibrahim, launched a series of attacks against areas in West Darfur and captured territory, leading to counter-attacks by the Sudan Armed Forces in the past few weeks. The fighting has left hundreds dead and several thousand more displaced.

AI Index: PRE01/070/2008
Region Africa
Country Sudan
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