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Report Condemns 'Brutal' Sudanese Security Service


A report from Amnesty International is charging that Sudan's Security service systematically uses torture, detention and kidnapping to silence opponents of the government. The Amnesty International report, titled "Agents of Fear," draws on accounts by witnesses and survivors of human-rights violations, as well as on reports from other non-governmental organizations.

Amnesty International is banned from working in Sudan, so many interviews were carried out in neighboring countries. Amnesty International's researcher on Sudan, Rania Rajji, says the findings are clear.

"The Sudanese security services are basically behind, let us say, 80 percent of human-rights violations if not more that are taking place in Sudan today," said Rajji.

The research was carried out between May 2008 and June 2010. Rajji says one of the biggest problems in Sudan is national security laws which allow the security services to detain citizens for months without cause.

"It has been in the detention of national security that people have been tortured, ill-treated and sometimes unlawfully killed," said Rajji.

The report cites specific acts of torture, and says families also are harassed and intimidated. While the people of Darfur have been singled out, Rajji says the hundreds of victims come from all areas.

"Opposition has been targeted whether it is political opposition or armed groups, students have been targeted depending on their political affiliation, human-rights defenders have been largely targeted, journalists have been targeted," said Rajji.

Rajji says the government denies holding anyone, and says Amnesty would like to see the security laws reformed.

"These laws need to be reformed in order for civilians to be protected and for civilians to be protected by the law enforcement agencies that are there to protect them in the first place," said Rajji.

A change is not likely, as the Sudanese government updated its security laws earlier this year. They give the security services sweeping powers and immunity from prosecution.

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