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Cablegate: Slm Lawyer Describes Sudan's "Undeclared State Of

VZCZCXRO0341
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0920/01 1740707
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 220707Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1110
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000920

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, S/CRS, SE WILLIAMSON, NSC FOR
BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON,
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SU
SUBJECT: SLM LAWYER DESCRIBES SUDAN'S "UNDECLARED STATE OF
EMERGENCY"

REF: KHARTOUM 918

1. (U) SUMMARY: On June 19, Abdel Aziz Sam (the legal expert for
the Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi- SLM/MM) told CDA
Fernandez that the harassment, detention, and unauthorized search
and seizure of Darfuris in Khartoum and Omdurman continues and that
Sudan is currently under an "undeclared state of emergency" due to
the May 10 JEM attack on nearby Omdurman. Sam also strongly
criticized the special legal system established for the trial of
captured members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Meanwhile, Sudanese authorities heavily censored a U.S. Embassy
press release on June 18 expressing concern over ethnically based
arrest, detention, and torture. SUMMARY.

"GENERAL REVENGE ON DARFURIS"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) Sam stated that the Sudanese security and police have
encouraged inhabitants of Khartoum to report suspicious activities
of Darfuris. Sam said that the authorities allegedly have since
received 18,000 reports on people from Darfur, although almost all
of them were not involved in the attack, having lived in Khartoum
for many years. "I have lived in Khartoum for 25 years," stated
Sam, "and all of a sudden my neighbors start reporting on me."
According to Sam, this reporting has the desired goal of scaring,
harassing, and weakening Darfuris in Khartoum. Even though most of
the reports are completely unfounded, stated Sam, the authorities
take anything reported very seriously, barging into homes, and
stealing property, harassing women.

3. (SBU) Small merchants have all their stock stolen or destroyed
with impunity. There is no court system for this behavior, and you
can't say anything against the people who barge into your home.
"It really is a type of general, racist revenge on Darfuri society
in Khartoum," stated Sam. Sam said that the government is not
solely responsible for the extent of reporting, as "some people are
using this as an opportunity to get back at their neighbors for very
petty things" such as property or domestic disputes. Sam added that
Darfuris in the capital have started to flee, returning home to
Darfur. (Sam later told poloff that the number of flights to Darfur
has even increased as a result of the demand for travel to Darfur.)
Some of the Darfuris returning home have been in Khartoum for a
generation, even before the eruption of violence in that region in
2003.

NEW SPECIAL LEGAL SYSTEM FOR JEM
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Sam stated that the GoS relies on its "three page" 2002
terrorism law for these detentions, searches, and encroachments on
civil liberties (this law was passed by the regime in the wake of
9/11 as the GOS sought to distance itself from its own past
terrorist links). Sam stated that anything can be considered
terrorism under this law, saying, "If you insult the President, even
that can be terrorism." CDA Fernandez noted that this may be the
reason that President Bashir dubbed the ICC a "terrorist
institution." Sam stated that the GoS has created an entirely new
and different legal system with special judges, new physical spaces
for the courtrooms, and the appointment of very weak defense
attorneys. He added that the trials had been delayed to give enough
time for the physical evidence of torture to heal before the public
hearings began.

5. (SBU) Sam added, "the judges chosen are totally beholden to the
regime, and there are no opportunities for defense in this system
where the judges and the executioners are the same people." Sam
specifically noted that the creation of these special courts, wholly
controlled by the security service (NISS) violates Article 151 of
Sudan's interim constitution. Sam was equally scathing about JEM and
Khalil Ibrahim noting that the JEM leader had "committed genocide"
in South Sudan before he turned against the Khartoum regime. But the
wave of revenge against Darfuris in Khartoum is "driving people to
Khalil who never would have agreed with him."

6. (SBU) Sam stated that SLM leader Minni Minnawi created a council
to register all violations to Darfuris in the aftermath of the JEM
attack. He said that many prominent national lawyers have
volunteered their time working for this council. Sam also said that
this council has worked in close coordination with the Darfur
Lawyers Association (led by Abdullah Duma, Sadiq Hassan, and Tariq
Al-Sheikh) to protect the rights of Darfuris. "The perpetrators of
the attack should be tried, but they should be tried according to
standard procedures, not in this fashion," stated Sam. Sam stated
that the GoS operates as though it is in a state of emergency,
although it has never declared this. "The NCP leaders know that
they can't declare a state of emergency right now, because First
Vice President Salva Kiir of the SPLM would never agree to it,"
stated Sam. Sam stated that he raised these issues with the
Minister of Justice in a private meeting, but that the Minister - a

KHARTOUM 00000920 002 OF 002


former communist reconciled to Khartoum's Islamist regime - was
unhelpful, dismissive, and rude.

7. (SBU) Charge asked Sam what additional steps the Embassy could
take to highlight this issue. He noted that we have repeatedly
raised this concern with senior Sudanese officials from the day
after the attack and have also publicly warned the regime about
targeting people on the basis of ethnicity or geographic origin.
Sam agreed that a visit to the defense council would be a good idea
but reaching out directly to the Darfuri Lawyers Association,
already under severe scrutiny by the regime, would probably not be
helpful.

EMBASSY'S PRESS RELEASE CENSORED
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) On June 18, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum issued a press
release expressing concern over "reports of ethnically based
arrests, detentions, and torture of Darfuris in Khartoum and
Omdurman in the wake of the May 10th attacks by the Justice and
Equality Movement Darfur rebels on Omdurman. The following day
"As-Sahafa" was the only major Sudanese paper to mention the press
release on June 18. This story focused on a source from the
Sudanese Government's National Council for Human Rights responding
to the June 18 press release denying any detentions based on ethnic
or geographic identity. On June 20, Nial Bohl of the English
language daily "The Citizen" contacted the Public Affairs Office at
the U.S. Embassy and stated that his paper intended to publish the
Embassy's press release, but that the Sudanese authorities censored
the article.

COMMENT
- - - -
9. (SBU) As the censorship of U.S. Embassy press releases
demonstrates, the GoS views U.S. attention on human rights abuses as
a threat. The work of Sam, the Darfur Lawyer's Association, and the
council established by SLM/MM following the attacks is crucial for
Darfuris and for Sudanese human rights practices in general. Post
will continue to follow up with the government, media, the Darfuri
community, and local and international organizations on this
important issue which, once again, highlights the essentially brutal
instincts of a regime lashing out when it feels threatened.

FERNANDEZ

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