Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sudan: Security forces must stop using live roundsagainst demonstrators

Sudanese security forces must stop shooting protesterswith live ammunition, Amnesty International said after confirming thatat least eight demonstrators killed on Tuesday had bullet wounds in theirchests, some inflicted at close range.
At least 10 people, many of them high school students,were killed on July 31 when Security services and paramilitary police openedfire in Nyala, South Darfur, during a demonstration against fuel pricesand the cost of living. Dozens more were injured.
Medical staff at Nyala Public Hospital told Amnesty Internationalthat the wounds inflicted on the eight bodies admitted to their morguewere consistent with those caused by 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic rifles.
“Any individual members of the security forces involvedin the events that caused this bloodbath must be suspended immediately,”said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International’s Africa program director.
“The Sudanese government must investigate why protesterswere directly targeted by the security force personnel who opened fireon them with live bullets.”
The Sudanese authorities have routinely used excessiveforce against mostly peaceful demonstrations which have occurred regularlyin Sudan’s major cities since mid-June.
According to the United Nation’s Basic Principles of theUse of Force, live ammunition should not be used, either directly againstdemonstrators or as warning shots, unless it is absolutely necessary andonly after less extreme means have proved ineffective.
The security forces also fired Dushka-type heavy machine-gunsin the air, which injured residents in their homes as bullets fell downfrom the sky.
“The Sudanese security forces must not be allowed to policedemonstrations in such a reckless manner and with flagrant disregard forhuman life,” said Rigaud.
“Sudanese citizens must be allowed to express their opinionpeacefully without experiencing systematic repression. Attacks againstpeaceful protesters are an unacceptable violation of their right to freedomof expression, assembly and association.”
Amnesty International is also concerned that injured protestersmay have been denied medical care following eye witness reports some werearrested and that plain clothes National Security Service personnel weredeployed within Nyala General Hospital.
Amnesty International has documented a pattern in recentweeks of injured protesters being denied medical treatment in Khartoum.
Police forces have used batons, tear gas and rubber bulletsat close range against demonstrators.
And, in response to the protest movement, the NationalSecurity Services (NSS) arrested hundreds of known political and civilsociety activists, regardless of their involvement in demonstrations. Manytold Amnesty International they had been tortured with sticks, water hosesand fists, and made to stand under the scorching sun all day.
In some cases individuals who had been injured in demonstrationsor as a result of torture and ill-treatment by security forces told AmnestyInternational that they preferred not to seek treatment in hospitals becausethey feared arrest and intimidation.
Dozens of activists remain in administrative detention.
Notes to Editors
• Security forces involved in the Nyala shootingsinclude the Central Reserve Police – a combat-trained paramilitary police- and plainclothes agents of the National Security Services (NSS).
AI Index: PRE01/378/2012

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