On Wednesday 20th April 2011, students and other activists took place in a demonstration in the grounds of Nyala University, Southern Darfur State about the deteriorating situation in Darfur. They were asking for the arrest of President Al-Bashir of Sudan and for him to be sent to the ICC. They were also trying to attract attention to the appalling humanitarian conditions throughout the region, ongoing insecurity and in particular, the bombing of Jebel Marra with many civilian casualties. Demonstrations also took place in Zalingei, Darfur, Wad Medani (the location of many Darfurian migrants) and Khartoum itself.

Before the students and activists were able to go far from the university compound in Nyala they were confronted by the government security police. They accused the students of being part of the UPF (United Popular Front) that is allied to Abdelwahid el Nur, the absent leader of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement. Dozens of protesters (close to 100 from the best sources I can get) were detained, but 55 were released shortly after.  Today, all but five were released. These five have been held under article 50 and 51 of the Sudanese Penal Code. They are aged 25-30 and their names are:

1-      Habieb Yahya Abdellah
2-      Abdelraziq Mohamed Omar (Degas)
3-      Saeed Adam Abdelrahim Abdellah
4-      Mohamed Ali (Klay) and
5-      Shakir Abdelrahman Adam

One of the five students, Shakir Abdelrahman Adam has been transferred to “Al gsim Al awsat” (Police Central Headquarters) in Nyala. The other four are being held at the notorious Korea prison in the south of Nyala, where it is understood that they are being tortured. One of the activists Shakir Abdelrahman Adam is already ill with an acute stomach ulcer and due to this ill health, is very much at risk. Prior to their detention, an Egyptian guard called Rafat whose telephone number is (++ 249 0921205371), had promised that they would not be tortured. Shortly after he made this promise, the prisoners were moved to new locations.

The situation has been made all the more dangerous because Adelwahid El Nur, in a bid to garner publicity, has told local media that he instructed the students to protest on his behalf. I have it on authority from many sources that he did not in fact instigate the protest, but his involvement will make the stakes much higher and will result in these students being put in much more danger.

I am very concerned for the welfare of these young people. I would be most obliged if you would consider issuing an urgent action or notice on their behalf to campaign for their release.

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