Hundreds of suspected government opponents were imprisoned. They included scores of prisoners of conscience. Most were detained without charge or trial for weeks or months. Torture was common and widespread, and some prisoners convicted of criminal offences were flogged. The fate of hundreds of prisoners who had "disappeared" in previous years remained unknown. Hundreds of people were extrajudicially executed in war-affected areas. All factions of an armed opposition group active in the south committed serious human rights abuses. In October the ruling military National Salvation Revolution Command Council (NSRCC) announced its dissolution and replacement by a civilian government; Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir remained President and the new government was mainly composed of the same officials. There was little change in the pattern of gross human rights violations established in previous years. In the war zones serious abuses were committed by all sides as armed conflict continued between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). By mid-1993, nearly three million people had been displaced in the south and adjacent areas of the north. In the Nuba mountains, the government forcibly evicted people from their homes and resettled them in so-called "peace villages" under the control of the army and the Popular Defence Force (PDF), a government-created militia. All factions of the internally split SPLA were responsible for gross abuses of human rights. In a bitter factional war, opposing SPLA forces massacred civilians, often because of their ethnic origin, and killed dissidents as well as captured government soldiers. Outside the war zones, the government suppressed all independent political activity. A state of emergency remained in force with political parties still banned. Between April and June there were mass arrests of members of traditional Islamic orders. In May the state took control of key mosques of the Ansar, Khatmiya and Ansar Sunna sects in the capital, Khartoum. In October the night curfew in force since 1989 was lifted in Khartoum. The Khartoum authorities continued to move people displaced from the war zones who were squatting around the capital to government-controlled camps away from the city. In March the UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on Sudan. In November he submitted an interim report to the UN General Assembly which concluded that "grave violations of human rights have taken place in Sudan". Hundreds of people were arrested for political reasons, scores of whom were prisoners of conscience. Most were detained without charge or trial for a few weeks or months. They included members of traditional Islamic orders and banned political parties, trade unionists, civil servants, students, and people from the south and the Misseriya and Nuba communities. Most detainees were taken initially to secret detention centres known as "ghost houses"; some were subsequently moved to civil prisons. At any one time, at least 100 political detainees were held in "ghost houses" and there were scores of other political prisoners in civil prisons. The practice of making suspected government opponents report daily to security offices, effectively a form of day-time detention, became increasingly widespread. Several prisoners of conscience arrested in previous years remained in jail throughout the year, although some were released. Ali Ahmad Hamdan, who had been arrested in May 1992, and two other members of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party (BASP), who had been arrested in December 1992, remained held without charge or trial. All three were apparently suspected of producing the underground newspaper al-Hadaf (The Target). At least four members of the banned Sudan Communist Party (scp) who had been arrested in December 1992, including Farouq Ali Zacharia, an economist, also remained held throughout the year. Seven other scp members arrested at the same time were released during 1993. Journalists critical of the government or involved with underground opposition newspapers were among prisoners of conscience detained during the year. In January Mohamed Abdulsid, the Khartoum correspondent of the international daily Asharq al-Awsat, was arrested and held without charge or trial until March. Moatisim Sagiaroun and Ahmad Tutu, BASP members alleged to be journalists with al-Hadaf, were detained in March and remained held without charge or trial at the end of the year. Over 90 people detained between April and June in northern and western towns were prisoners of conscience. The majority belonged to the Ansar religious order and the banned Umma Party. Some were released after a day, but most were held without charge for about six weeks. Others were detained for longer: they included two former cabinet ministers, Ibrahim al-Amin and Fadlallah Burma Nasir, who were arrested in mid-April and released in August and September respectively. At least 15 people were detained in April after the authorities announced they had discovered a plot to organize acts of sabotage. Nine of them were shown on national television, shackled and bruised. Five other prisoners allegedly implicated in the plot were released between April and November, at least three of them on bail. The authorities repeatedly said that those detained in connection with the alleged plot would be tried, but no action had been taken by the end of the year. Arrests of suspected government opponents continued throughout the year. In September the government took retaliatory action against several people who had met the UN Special Rapporteur. Twenty-nine women were arrested when trying to petition the UN official, two of whom were dragged along the ground before being forced into police vehicles. All were released within hours. The Minister of Justice said that they had been arrested on the grounds that their gathering had been illegal. In November at least 33 students were arrested after a student protest at Khartoum University turned into a confrontation with riot police. The students were detained without charge for several weeks. The authorities stated that only 17 students were held. The same month Sid Ahmad al-Hussein, the Deputy Secretary General of the banned Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and a former cabinet minister, was arrested after a political meeting at Omdurman Ahlia University. The authorities announced that he would be charged with treason and espionage but he remained uncharged in detention at the end of the year. In the war zones, the security services continued to arbitrarily detain suspected government opponents, particularly prominent or educated members of the Nuba community. For example, Hamid Yacoub was seized by security agents while on a bus and held incommunicado for two weeks in May. He was released only after a government minister intervened. In July Benjamin Loki Matayo, a priest, was detained by Military Intelligence officials in Juba. He remained in incommunicado detention without charge at the end of the year. In December over 60 members of the Misseriya ethnic group from South Kordofan were reportedly detained on suspicion of supporting the SPLA. There was widespread torture by the army, other security agencies and the PDF. The victims included children. Detainees were frequently beaten when they were taken to "ghost houses" and torture during interrogation was systematic. Methods most often cited were beating, whipping and being forced to stand for long periods. For example, in March in Khartoum 13 school children who refused to join a government-created youth organization were reported to have been stripped and lashed with split bamboo canes and made to stand for several hours in the sun while detained by security officials. Suspected government opponents arrested in the war zones were particularly at risk of torture in military detention centres. In the Nuba mountains, detainees alleged they had had bags containing chilli powder tied over their heads. In the south, there were reports that captured SPLA combatants were routinely tortured before being extrajudicially executed. Children suspected of living on the streets in Khartoum were subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment after they were arbitrarily detained in round-ups. In May approximately 30 children under the age of 11 were reportedly beaten in a police station in south Khartoum after being detained. Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments, including flogging, were imposed by Public Order Courts after unfair trials. In September a senior judge revealed that punishments provided under Shari'a law had been imposed in secret in prisons: it was not clear whether these included limb amputations and executions. However, hundreds of people were flogged in public. The majority were from the urban poor, frequently petty traders and women convicted of brewing alcohol. For instance, Peter al-Birish, an Anglican bishop, received 80 lashes in July after being convicted of adultery. In November, eight men, among them three brothers of a prominent government opponent in exile, received 40 lashes after being convicted of consuming alcohol. The fate of hundreds of people who "disappeared" in previous years remained unknown. The vast majority were civilians from the war zones. Evidence emerged in 1993 that Camillo Odongi Loyuk, a former soldier and administrator, had been beaten to death in custody in Khartoum in December 1992. The authorities stated in March that he had never been arrested, but it was known that he had been detained in Khartoum in August 1992. There were no signs that a government-established committee of inquiry into hundreds of extrajudicial executions and the "disappearance" of 230 people in Juba between June and August 1992 was carrying out any work. Nevertheless, in the middle of the year official sources said that "the committee [had] found no evidence of improper action by the military courts or the army". No report was forthcoming by the end of the year and the committee did not appear to represent a genuine attempt to investigate human rights violations (see Amnesty International Report 1993). Hundreds of civilians and prisoners were reported to have been extrajudicially executed during the year. For example, hundreds of villagers were killed during a prolonged offensive by government forces in the Nuba mountains which had begun in late 1992 and continued into 1993. In May, five prisoners held in el-Obeid prison were reportedly taken back to the Nuba mountains near Dilling and extrajudicially executed. In the south, the army and PDF attacked villages and extrajudicially executed civilians in Bahr al-Ghazal and Upper Nile. In Bor, army patrols reportedly carried out a series of extrajudicial executions in the countryside around the town. In February, for instance, a young woman died after being captured and raped by soldiers. Her father, who was captured with her, was extrajudicially executed. In March PDF troops attacked villages around the railway line in northern Bahr al-Ghazal and allegedly killed civilians and raped scores of women. In another incident PDF troops abducted over 300 women and children, apparently intending to make them domestic slaves. Army units reportedly intervened to free the prisoners when the PDF attempted to take their captives back to northern Sudan. All factions of the SPLA were responsible for gross human rights abuses, including deliberately killing deserters and torturing and killing captured government soldiers. In April, one of the factions, the Torit group, massacred about 200 Nuer villagers, many of them children, in villages around the town of Ayod. Some of the victims were shut in huts and burned to death. Others were shot. The killings were apparently in revenge for a massacre by troops belonging to the Nasir faction in 1991 (see Amnesty International Report 1992). Amnesty International repeatedly appealed to the government to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, and to ensure that all political detainees were promptly and fairly tried, or released. It also expressed concern about torture, including floggings, "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions, and called for action to halt these abuses. In September Amnesty International published a report, Sudan: The ravages of war - political killings and humanitarian disaster, which called on all parties to the conflict to respect humanitarian law. The government failed to provide substantive responses to any of Amnesty International's appeals and dismissed the organization's criticisms as "distorted fiction". The government said that Amnesty International had no credibility because it had not visited Sudan recently. Amnesty International also appealed directly to the SPLA to end deliberate and arbitrary killings and other abuses, to respect human rights and observe basic humanitarian standards. However, the SPLA apparently took no steps to end human rights abuses. In October a representative of the Torit faction dismissed Amnesty International's concerns about the SPLA's human rights record as "absurd". In oral statements to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February and the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in July, Amnesty International included reference to its concerns in Sudan. Following submission of the UN Special Rapporteur's interim report, in December the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution expressing deep concern at serious human rights violations in the Sudan and called on the government and the SPLA fully to respect human rights.

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