Amnesty: Sudan's security service tortures and intimidate opponents
Sudan's security service tortures, intimidates and arbitrarily detains opponents of President Omar al-Bashir, Amnesty International said in a report released Monday.
Al-Bashir is facing charges of genocide and war crimes relating to the Darfur conflict, and was also accused of rigging April's elections - the first multiparty vote in 24 years, DPA reported.
"The NISS (Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service) rules Sudan by fear," said Erwin van der Borght, Africa programme director for Amnesty International.
"The Sudanese authorities are brutally silencing political opposition and human rights defenders in Sudan through violence and intimidation," he added.
Amnesty said it documented 34 arrests of journalists, human rights activists and students in the first half of 2010.
Torture methods used included beating detainees, electric shocks and sleep deprivation, Amnesty said.
Ahmed Ali Mohamed Osman, a doctor, told Amnesty he had been arrested after writing an article on rape in Darfur that also criticized the government's decision to expel 13 aid agencies from the province.
"They leaned me over a chair and held me by my arms and feet while others hit me on the back, legs and arms with something similar to an electrical cable," he said. "They kicked me in the testicles repeatedly while they talked about the report on rape in Darfur."
Osman now lives abroad after receiving death threats when he tried to report the incident, Amnesty said.
Censorship of newspapers and the closing of opposition publications has picked up since the elections, Amnesty alleged.
The strong criticism came one week after the International Criminal Court added genocide to war-crimes charges levelled against al-Bashir.
The UN estimates 300,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003, when mainly non-Arab tribesmen took up arms against what they called decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab- dominated government in Khartoum.
In January next year, al-Bashir also faces the prospect of Southern Sudan breaking away. The autonomous state is holding a referendum on independence - a vote enshrined in the 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war between north and south.