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Security forces ‘looted’ office, stole computers

Mohamed Hilali
Opposition parties are threatening to take the Sudanese government to court after a raid on a political office saw arrests made, computers taken and furnishings damaged.
3.07.2012  |  Khartoum
Opposition leaders at HAQ head office.
Opposition leaders at HAQ head office.

On June 18, a patrol of around 100 members raided the office of the Movement of New Democratic Forces, one of the parties making up the Sudanese opposition coalition.

That coalition, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), say they will submit an official complaint about the raid to Parliament.  

Head of HAQ, Hala Abdul Halim.
© The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly
At the time of the raid, the Movement of New Democratic Forces (also known as HAQ) was hosting the signing of the charter for the Youth Alliance for Change, a coalition of 13 youth organisations, most of which were established over the past two years and which mostly oppose the current regime in Khartoum.

During the raid, the security forces arrested around 34 people, including four females and one journalist. According to one of the detainees, Alliance coordinator Rashida Shamsudin, the security men assaulted the detainees, confiscating their mobile phones and seven laptops.

The raiders spoiled and damaged many things, including furniture, office equipment and documents. They confiscated some and damaged other things and they also looted the office computers,” a press statement from HAQ said.

Khaled Ahmad, journalist and member of the Sudanese Journalists Network.
© The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly
HAQ announced that it had formed a legal committee to follow up on the matter. The complaint would discuss the alleged looting” of the offices.

Shamsudin explained that the Youth Alliance was not really a staunchly political group, rather, they organised cultural and academic events. Nonetheless she said that the arrests would not stop their activities.

At a press conference held the following day at the same office where the raid occurred, the head of HAQ, Hala Abdul Halim, called on all political parties to unite in confronting this kind of action.

Ahmad Shaker, HAQ leader and one of the detained persons.
© The Niles | Mohamed Hilaly
The raid coincided with demonstrations led by Khartoum students protesting the economic crisis in Sudan and with political party moves against the current regime led by NCF members.

Which led one of the senior members of NCF, Sadiq Yousef, to suggest that the raid was a sign of something more ominous. Yousef described the event as an early warning sign that the freedom of political activity will be limited”.

The regime is panicking, notes Khaled Ahmad, a journalist and leading member of the Sudanese Journalist’s Network. And this raid exists within the framework of the regime’s ongoing, and fierce, attacks on any [opposition] political activity”.