Amnesty International has urged Sudanese authorities to ensure that a UN worker being held in South Darfur is not subjected to torture and is given immediate access to his family and any needed medical care.
Idris Yousef Abdelrahman, a civil affairs officer from the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) based in Nyala, was charged on 12 July with “undermining the constitutional system” and “waging war against the state”. Both crimes are punishable by death under Sudanese law.
He had gone missing in late April after being called to a meeting with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which on 10 May confirmed his detention. NISS detainees have frequently reported being tortured and ill-treated.
“For more than two months, the Sudanese intelligence agency has held Idris Yousef Abdelrahman without giving him access to his family or medical treatment, and there is a legitimate concern he is at risk of torture,” said Erwin Van Der Borght, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director.
“This is unacceptable, and his arrest and charging violates the Sudanese government’s agreement with the UN over the treatment of UN workers accused of committing a criminal offence.”
All UNAMID staff are entitled to immunity for charges brought against them while carrying out their official duties.
The Sudanese government failed to comply with its agreement to inform UNAMID officials when Abdelrahman was detained and charged.
Abdelrahman was arrested by the NISS on three previous occasions. The last time was in 2009, shortly after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The NISS also arrested Hawa Abdallah, a UNAMID translator in Abu Shouk village in West Darfur on 6 May. She was released on 13 July without being charged, but state-run media had accused her of “Christianizing” children in the internally displaced persons camp where she works.
“This apparent targeting of UN workers by Sudan’s intelligence agency must come to an end,” said Erwin Van Der Borght.
“Sudan must respect its Status of Forces Agreement with the UN and cooperate with the Joint Special Representative regarding any case where a UN staff member has been accused of committing a crime.”