Defending human rights ‘not a crime’: freed Sudan activist

Khartoum – A leading Sudanese activist who was released after a presidential pardon said Wednesday that defending human rights was “not a crime”, as he vowed to continue fighting against rights abuses.

Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, an engineering professor at the University of Khartoum, told AFP in an interview that it was pressure from global and local human rights groups that finally led to his release on Tuesday after months of detention, during which he was put on trial on charges of spying for foreign embassies.

“Defending human rights is not a crime,” Ibrahim Adam, winner of several international human rights awards, said at his home in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

“Human rights are being violated not only by the authorities but also by armed groups, and we have to fight all those who abuse human rights,” he said.

Ibrahim Adam was freed after President Omar al-Bashir pardoned him along with five other activists.

He was arrested in December as part of a crackdown against opposition leaders and activists in an attempt to crush widespread protests against a government decision to raise fuel prices.

Prosecutors had accused him of being among activists who were running a “criminal organisation” and engaged in “spying and intelligence activities for foreign embassies”.

Ibrahim Adam and others were also accused of “publishing lies about (government forces) using chemical weapons” during fighting with rebels in the country’s conflict zones.

Ibrahim Adam said the prosecution had “no evidence” against him.

“They exaggerated things and made them big. The only way for them to back out was a direct intervention from the president,” said the activist, who went on hunger strike while in jail.

Ibrahim Adam, who has worked extensively on human rights issues in Sudan for three decades, has been arrested several times for his work.

The government shut down a development organisation he headed in 2009.

News24 Africa

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