Doctor, Child Killed in Khartoum Protests

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 08:30
Khartoum - Asharq Al-Awsat

As anti-government protests continued on Thursday in Sudan, security forces responded by firing live bullets at demonstrators, killing a doctor in a Khartoum hospital and a 14-year-old boy, and injuring 12 other persons.

Protesters organized small demonstrations in central Khartoum, while thousands of young people marched on internal streets because security reinforcements prevented them from gathering.

Security authorities arrested unprecedented numbers of protesters, including at least seven journalists.

A spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Gathering warned that the situation in the country was very dangerous and stressed that the security forces adopted extreme measures against the people, which led to the death of doctor Babeker Abdul Hamid and child Mohammed Al-Obeid, as well as the injury of more than 12 demonstrators, including eight in serious condition.

Security forces deployed in large numbers since early hours on Thursday, firing gas on most of the streets leading to the presidential palace in Khartoum, and arresting citizens indiscriminately, while most of the streets of the city center saw chasing of protesters by security.

In a move to absorb the anger of demonstrators, the cabinet on Thursday issued a decision to increase the wages of public sector workers.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament (EP)Thursday “strongly condemned the excessive use of force by Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service during ongoing protests.”

In a resolution adopted by a show of hands, the EP deplored “the ongoing general repression by the authorities in Sudan, which continues to target activists and human rights defenders, as well as lawyers, teachers, students and doctors.”

It reiterated the demand that the Sudanese government complies with international law in accordance with the conventions and treaties to which the country is a party.

The EP also requested “the immediate and unconditional release of Saleh Mahmoud Othman,” the Sudanese lawyer who in 2007 received the European Sakharov Prize for individuals or organizations making an exceptional contribution for human rights.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed “deep concern” over the “excessive use” of force against demonstrators in Sudan, four weeks after the start of protests against the regime.

The reported use of “excessive force”, against demonstrators across Sudan over food and fuel shortages, that has led to the deaths of at least 24 people is “deeply worrying”, UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday.

“A repressive response can only worsen grievances,” she added.

“I am very concerned about reports of excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by Sudanese State Security Forces during large-scale demonstrations in various parts of the country since 19 December.”

She called for the immediate release of “all those arbitrarily detained for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression”, stressing that the government “needs to ensure that security forces handle protests in line with the country’s international human rights obligations by facilitating and protecting the right to peaceful assembly.”

Bachelet concluded by urging the authorities “to work to resolve this tense situation through dialogue and call on all sides to refrain from the use of violence”.

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