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Cablegate: Splm's Arman Describes Police Abuse; Arrested Demonstrators

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OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1370/01 3421320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081320Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4842
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001370

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NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREF SU
SUBJECT: SPLM'S ARMAN DESCRIBES POLICE ABUSE; ARRESTED DEMONSTRATORS
RELEASED

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1359
B) KHARTOUM 1363

1. (SBU) Summary: On December 8, Sudan People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) Head of Northern Sector Yasir Arman described how several
Government of Sudan (GOS) junior police officers "beat him with
their boots" and a police baton while he was in police custody on
December 7. Arman stated he received injuries to his head, legs and
chest for which he sought medical treatment. Arman stated that
others detained in various locations suffered worse injuries,
including broken bones. The UN affirmed that 146 people had been
arrested in Omdurman on December 7, while an additional 120 had been
arrested in the northern Sudan cities of Wad Madani, El Obeid and El
Hasahisa. All were released the following morning. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On December 8, a visiting delegation from the U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) met with
SPLM's Head of Northern Sector Yasir Arman following his detention
the previous day by GOS security forces (reftels). Accompanying
Arman were Government of National Unity (GNU) Members of Parliament
(MPs) Salwa Adam and Malone Mayok, who also took part in the
December 7 protests.

3. (SBU) Arman told the USCIRF delegation and poloff that he and 12
to 15 other MPs arrived at the National Assembly for their planned
protest at approximately 8:15 a.m. on December 7. The National
Assembly Speaker had agreed to receive them and accept their
prepared memorandum, but the heavy GOS security presence prevented
them from entering the building. GOS police forces proceeded to
take Malone Mayok into a police vehicle, which Arman protested
vigorously due to standard GNU immunity granted to all MPs. Arman
said it was then that he and SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amun were
also taken to the police station.

4. (SBU) Arman noted that there was no struggle or scuffling up to
that point, but events took a turn for the worse when police
attempted to search the MPs at the police station, and the MPs
refused. Arman stated he was then taken into the station's bathroom
where several junior officers "beat him with their boots" and a
"plastic stick" on his legs, head and chest. (Note: Arman is most
likely referring to a hard rubber police baton commonly used in
Sudan. End note.) He showed USCIRF three bruises on his right leg.
Arman stated that his suit was also torn during the beating.

5. (SBU) Arman requested that he be taken to a local hospital, which
he stated took a full record of his injuries, including photographs.
After his examination, Arman returned to the police station and was
released in the late afternoon. Salma Adam also told the USCIRF
delegation that she was beaten on the arms, and observers noted
slight swelling on her right arm. Arman further noted that other
people arrested in various locations suffered more severe injuries
from beatings, including broken bones. Arman stated he would hold a
press conference later in the day on December 8 for "the public
record." (Note: In speaking with the press on December 8, SPLM
Secretary General Pagan Amun did not say that he had been beaten,
but did say that Arman had been. End note.)

------------------------------------
UNMIS CONFIRMS ARRESTS, ALL RELEASED
------------------------------------

6. (SBU) UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Human Rights Officer-in-Charge
Jose Maria Aranaz confirmed press reports that over 200
demonstrators were arrested in northern Sudan on December 7.
According to the latest figures gathered by the UN, Sudanese
authorities arrested 146 people in Omdurman, and all of them were
released by the morning of December 8. Sudanese authorities
arrested an additional 120 individuals in protests in Wad Medani, El
Obeid and El Hasahisa, but the UN confirmed that all were released
by the morning of December 8 as well. UN representatives noted
numerous bandaged demonstrators at the opposition parties' press
conference in Omdurman on December 7, and said that three protesters
were injured seriously during the protests in El Obeid and Wad
Medani. UNMIS Human Rights intends to follow up on the issue with
the GOS Advisory Council on Human Rights this week.

7. (SBU) Comment: While it is common for GOS security services to
react in a heavy-handed fashion, this outlash against demonstrators
engaged in a peaceful protest is significant. In a moment of
unusual candor, the MFA's acting Americas' Department Director told
the DCM on December 8 that the "roughness by police" in response to
the demonstrators had been "regrettable" and would "complicate the
political situation." The abuse of SPLM heavyweight Arman,
apparently by junior police officers, may not have been particularly
severe, but it is troublesome in that Arman is the SPLM's caucus

KHARTOUM 00001370 002 OF 002


leader in the National Assembly with guaranteed legal immunity as
such, and a senior official in the junior partner in the GNU. This
incident will create a chill in the political climate as Sudan tries
to move forward in the electoral cycle. End comment.

WHITEHEAD

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