- Amnesty International has called on Sudanese security forces to end violent crackdown on political protests.
The call follows yesterday’s arrest of Sudanese southerners in Khartoum for holding a banned a rally against the President, Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP).
According to the organisation, some of those arrested during the protest are being tortured in detention. More than 200 people, including opposition leaders and human rights activists, were arrested as they gathered in front of the parliament building on Monday morning.
The tensions are reportedly rising, as the country heads for next year's presidential, parliamentary and local elections. This will be the first in 24 years between SPLM and NCP.
Deputy Director of the Africa programme at Amnesty International, Tawanda Hondora, said that yesterday’s arrest was yet another example of the culture of violence that the Sudanese government has adopted.
“We ask the government to immediately announce the names and whereabouts of those arrested and to charge them with recognised criminal offences or else secure their immediate release,” the Amnesty International official said.
The orgsanisation also said the widespread use of violence and torture against opposition and human rights activists as well as ordinary civilians must stop.
Demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building in the early morning despite a last minute ban being imposed by the authorities. The protest was aimed against the delays in passing laws that are seen as vital to a forthcoming referendum and elections.
A referendum is also scheduled on whether the south should secede in 2011. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended 22 years of war during which 1,5 million people have been killed.
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