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HomeNewsSudan: Redress - Sudanese Laws Need Reform to Ban Torture-Tainted Evidence

Sudan: Redress – Sudanese Laws Need Reform to Ban Torture-Tainted Evidence

London — The UK-based REDRESS organisation has urged “a future legitimate and democratically elected Sudanese government” to reform its laws to curtail the use of torture in custodial settings and prohibit the use of information extracted by torture in trials.

In general, “allegations raised by accused persons that they were forced to confess have historically been systematically ignored by judges,” REDRESS said in a briefing last Monday.

Defence lawyers say that judges routinely tell them the only way to address the issue of “torture evidence” and/or the act of torture itself is to initiate separate proceedings against an alleged perpetrator(s), and not in the case against the defendant.

“As a party to the UN Convention against Torture since August 2021, Sudan must prohibit, prevent, punish, and provide reparations for torture and other ill-treatment,” the NGO stated. “Sudan must ensure that evidence elicited through torture or other ill-treatment is excluded from legal proceedings. Despite this, Sudanese authorities continue to rely routinely on evidence obtained through torture and other ill-treatment in criminal and other proceedings.”

In the briefing, REDRESS refers to the case of 17-year-old Mohamad Adam (aka Tupac) who was detained from a hospital in eastern Khartoum in mid-January, after sustaining injuries in a demonstration, on charges of stabbing a police brigadier to death during the protest. Fellow protesters Mohamed El Fateh, Ahmed El Fateh, and Musab El Sherif were also detained in relation with the killing.

Adam’s defence lawyers said that he and the other defendants were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, while held in incommunicado detention by security forces, and that their confessions were extracted by torture.

In the first session of the trial, on 29 May, the defence lawyers in the case requested a medical examination to prove the issue of torture. This time however, the presiding judge granted the defence team’s request, a decision subsequently upheld by Sudan’s High Court.

Another case is the one concerning nine members (including minors) of the resistance committee of the Burri El Lamab neighbourhood in Khartoum, who were accused of killing a paramilitary of the Rapid Support Forces during the June 3 massacre of 2019, lawyers alleged that confessions were extracted through torture.

Though the defendants were acquitted on other grounds after proceedings in October 2020, the judge declined to address the allegations of torture through the proceedings and in his judgment.