Human rights defender Mohamed Salah Mohamed disappeared in Sudan

March 25, 2014

On 20 March 2014, human rights defender  Mohamed Salah Mohamed was forcibly disappeared at Khartoum International Airport as he was traveling to a workshop in Tunisia. His family have not been provided with any information to his whereabouts.

Mohamed Salah Mohamed is actively involved in the mobilisation of Sudanese citizens to demand human rights and democracy. The human rights defender had attended the funeral of Ali Akabar, a student protester who was killed during a demonstration on 11 March 2014. During the memorial he had given a speech in which he named National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officials who he claimed were directly responsible for  the killing. According to sources, this is very likely to be the reason for his disappearance.

On 20 March 2014, Mohamed Salah Mohamed, for reasons of security, was accompanied by family and friends to the departures hall of Khartoum International Airport. They left the airport after receiving a message from his phone stating that he had boarded the aircraft. However, other individuals on the same flight later informed them that the human rights defender never boarded the plane. Later, the airline confirmed that he had never checked in. After spending four hours seeking information as to his whereabouts, Mohamed Salah Mohamed’s family were informed by an unofficial source that he had been arrested before he checked in. According to the source, he was kept at the airport for some time and was then taken to an unknown location.

On the morning of 21 March 2014, members of Mohamed Salah Mohamed’s family went to NISS headquarters in Khartoum to deliver clothes and personal items to the human rights defender, however they were told by a source in the political section that he was not in their custody and that they should “look for him elsewhere”. They were further advised to search in other NISS centres in Khartoum to obtain information regarding the human rights defender’s whereabouts.

Since the events of 11 March 2014, Mohamed Salah Mohamed’s family home in Khartoum has been monitored, with at least ten security guards spending the night in front of the house every night. On 15 March, the human rights defender’s brother was kidnapped by plain-clothed NISS agents metres from their home. The agents took him to a deserted location of the Alshagara neighbourhood in Khartoum, and there assaulted and robbed him. He was told that this was a message for his brother, Mohamed Salah Mohamed, and that both brothers “should be careful from the consequences of their actions” [sic].

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