News / Africa

Sudanese Human Rights Activist Detained Without Charges

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Joe DeCapua

Sudanese authorities are being called on to give the whereabouts and condition of a prominent human rights activist.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims says Professor Abdelbasit Murgany, a trustee of the organization, was arrested Tuesday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

In Copenhagen, IRCT Secretary-General Brita Sydhoff says, “Dr. Abdelbasit Murgany is actually a professor of clinical psychology at the Algazira University and he is the founder of (the human rights group) Alfanar Association, working in Khartoum.

Murgany, who’s 55, has been a human rights activist for the past 30 years.
“The relationship that we have is that he’s also working with rehabilitation for victims of torture,” says Sydhoff.

Little is known

The IRCT is attempting to learn the circumstances that led to his arrest. 
“We don’t know much at all,” she says.  “We know that probably on Tuesday he disappeared and somebody said that they had seen that the security officers had taken him away.  They don’t know where he has been taken to and what his condition is like.  And this is of course totally unacceptable.”

Sydhoff says she’s unaware of any past problems between Murgany and authorities but adds, “I think it’s quite clear that people who stand up for human rights and work against torture and for the torture survivors are bound to have some problems with the authorities in Sudan.”

Health problems

Murgany has a number of health concerns.  “He has hypertension and a heart condition.  So he needs medicine urgently.  And since neither his family nor his colleagues or friends know his whereabouts, nobody can really help him.  It’s bad enough to be detained, but if you also have a health condition this is very serious,” she says.

The IRCT says it has appealed to the international community in Sudan, the United Nations and the European commission for help in gaining Murgany’s release.

“We demand of course to know where he is,” she says, adding, “Are there any charges at all against him?”

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