Search

 

Cablegate: Sudanese Opposition to Use Lubna Hussein Trial As Rallying

VZCZCXRO0660
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1036/01 2511811
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081811Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4392
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001036

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SU
SUBJECT: Sudanese Opposition to Use Lubna Hussein Trial as Rallying
Point Against Public Order Law

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1150 B) Khartoum 888 C) KHARTOUM 870 D) Khartoum
1020
1. (SBU) Summary: Lubna Hussein, accused of violating article 152 of
Sudanese criminal code (indecent dress), was tried and convicted on
September 7 in a proceeding at which she was not given an
opportunity to enter a plea or to call witnesses in her defense.
Mrs. Hussein, who was sentenced to pay a fine or serve a month-long
jail term, chose incarceration, but was released on September 8 when
the head of the Sudanese Journalists' Union, without Mrs. Hussein's
consent, paid her fine. Forty-five bystanders waiting outside the
trial were arrested under criminal provisions against rioting, then
released. Dr. Miriam Sadiq, an Umma Party leader, said opposition
parties would use the case to rally support for repeal of the Public
Order Law. END SUMMARY.
Judge Conducts Truncated "Trial"
--------------------------------
2. (SBU) Canadian Charge D'affaires, who attended the trial, told
DCM that Judge Mutdhar El-Rasheed moved directly and unexpectedly
from the pretrial phase, during which he heard statements from the
prosecutor and police witnesses, to sentencing, without allowing
Mrs. Hussein the chance to enter a plea or call witnesses in her
defense. Canadian Charge also remarked that police testimony
against Mrs. Hussein appeared to be rehearsed, and was full of
contradictions on basic facts. He was most disturbed by the fact
that the court ruled against diplomatic immunity for Mrs. Hussein
without allowing the United Nations, for which Mrs. Hussein worked
as a Public Affairs Officer, to present arguments that she indeed
had such immunity. He noted that this does not bode well either for
other UN locally engaged staff or those employed at diplomatic
missions.
Hussein Unexpectedly Released
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) After announcing the guilty verdict, the judge sentenced
Mrs. Hussein to pay a 500 SDG fine or to spend a month in jail.
Mrs. Hussein opted not to pay the fine, and to spend the month in
prison. However, on September 8, she was released from prison for
unknown reasons. The head of the Sudanese Journalists' Union made a
statement to BBC that he had paid the 500 SDG fine on Mrs. Hussein's
behalf. In response to his claim, Mrs. Hussein held an impromptu
press conference in which she stated that she had been released from
prison against her will, and without having seen any documentation
that the fine had been paid. Prominent local physician Dr. Nahed
Toubia, a supporter of Mrs. Hussein, told Poloff on September 8 that
the man who claimed to have paid the fine was a "puppet of the
Government."
Peaceful Protesters Arrested, Released
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Of the approximately 150 bystanders who waited outside the
court during Mrs. Hussein's trial, forty-five were arrested by riot
police. Dr. Toubia, who was among those arrested, told Poloff the
protests were peaceful and quiet, despite intentional provocation
from courthouse security. "They called us prostitutes and other
names," Dr. Toubia explained, "but we did not react." Dr. Toubia
said that there were not enough police vehicles to remove all of the
protesters, so the forty-five who were arrested volunteered to get
into the single vehicle. The group included civil society leaders
and nine prominent journalists.
5. (SBU) After spending several hours in jail, Dr. Toubia said those
those arrested were told that Vice President Taha wished to pardon
them for their crime. According to Dr. Toubia's account, they
refused the offer. No bail was posted, but all were quietly
released by authorities less than an hour after the trial concluded.
Dr. Toubia said that authorities claimed that someone had paid bail
on behalf of the protesters.
6. (SBU) Umma Party Representative Dr. Miriam Sadiq told Poloff on
September 8 that she had signed a guarantee that those arrested
would appear at trial. According to Dr. Sadiq, all had been charged
with "rioting" under Article 77 of Sudanese criminal code.
Opposition Rallies Support Against Public Order Law
--------------------------------------------- ------

7. (SBU) Dr. Miriam Sadiq, speaking on behalf of the Umma Party,
told Poloff on September 8 that opposition parties and civil society
leaders intend to use Mrs. Hussein's cause as a rallying point for a
campaign against the Public Order Law. Dr. Sadiq characterized the
trial of Mrs. Hussein as one of many examples of gender-based
harassment sanctioned by Sudanese law. "Protests will continue
until the Public Order Law is repealed," Dr. Sadiq promised.

8. (SBU) Comment: Senior government officials are embarrassed by
Mrs. Hussein's widely-publicized trial (ref. D). In a textbook
exercise of civil disobedience, Mrs. Hussein appears to have trumped
all of the Government's attempts to sweep her case under the rug.
In the past, others suffering similar treatment have been persuaded

KHARTOUM 00001036 002 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Lubna Hussein, accused of violating article 152 of
Sudanese criminal code (indecent dress), was tried and convicted on
September 7 in a proceeding at which she was not given an
opportunity to enter a plea or to call witnesses in her defense.
Mrs. Hussein, who was sentenced to pay a fine or serve a month-long
jail term, chose incarceration, but was released on September 8 when
the head of the Sudanese Journalists' Union, without Mrs. Hussein's
consent, paid her fine. Forty-five bystanders waiting outside the
trial were arrested under criminal provisions against rioting, then
released. Dr. Miriam Sadiq, an Umma Party leader, said opposition
parties would use the case to rally support for repeal of the Public
Order Law. END SUMMARY.
Judge Conducts Truncated "Trial"
--------------------------------
2. (SBU) Canadian Charge D'affaires, who attended the trial, told
DCM that Judge Mutdhar El-Rasheed moved directly and unexpectedly
from the pretrial phase, during which he heard statements from the
prosecutor and police witnesses, to sentencing, without allowing
Mrs. Hussein the chance to enter a plea or call witnesses in her
defense. Canadian Charge also remarked that police testimony
against Mrs. Hussein appeared to be rehearsed, and was full of
contradictions on basic facts. He was most disturbed by the fact
that the court ruled against diplomatic immunity for Mrs. Hussein
without allowing the United Nations, for which Mrs. Hussein worked
as a Public Affairs Officer, to present arguments that she indeed
had such immunity. He noted that this does not bode well either for
other UN locally engaged staff or those employed at diplomatic
missions.
Hussein Unexpectedly Released
-----------------------------

to let their cases quietly fade from public view. Mrs. Hussein and
her opposition supporters seem determined not to allow that to
happen again. END COMMENT.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: COVID Contributed To 69,000 Malaria Deaths WHO Finds, Though ‘Doomsday Scenario’ Averted
Disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in considerable increases in malaria cases and deaths between 2019 and 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday... More>>



Save The Children: World Leaders Urged To Halt Escalating Hunger Crisis

A group of 120 non-governmental organisations has joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows the number of people likely to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022 could rise by 17%...More>>

WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...
More>>


Cook Islands: First COVID Case "historical"

The 10 year old child who provided two ‘weak positive’ covid test results after arriving in Rarotonga last Thursday, has returned a negative result in his latest test. That means he’s not infectious and this is an historical case... More>>


Oxfam: Failure To Vaccinate The World Created Perfect Breeding Ground For Omicron, Say Campaigners

Campaigners from the People’s Vaccine Alliance say the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to openly share their vaccine science and technology and the lack of action from rich countries to ensure access to vaccines globally have created the perfect breeding ground for new variants such as Omicron... More>>


World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>