Thursday, June 26, 2014

On the Eve of Torture Survivors Day

Torture continued to prevail around the globe not only by some rogue governments but also by some militia groups that claim to fight for justice in their own teritories.


Boko Haram is one example of an absurd group that claimed to fight for justice in Nigeria. Abducting innocent people including young middle school girls and torturing and bombing their teachers in the name of 'islamic' agenda was the way they introduced themselves to the world.
 
                                                                           Source

ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is another terrorist group that specialized in torturing people in the name of implementing Islamic Sharia Laws. Chopping heads, hands, and foot, and flogging people was another absurd way of introducing their image of Islamic State in Syria and other areas they controlled in Iraq.


In Libya, the armed groups continued to terrorize civilians in every single region especially those who call for democratic society. On the eve of the United Nations' Day for Torture Survivors they brutally killed one of the prominent human rights activists, Ms. Salwa Bughaighis, that she called for banning armed militias in Libya.

Source
In Sudan, the country that has been ruled under another Islamic military group since 1989, the mass human rights violations continued to prevail. Bombing civilians in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile region brought a lot of concern around the world especially that many kids who escaped to the mountains continued to live in caves to get protection from air raids.


Refugees who took refuge in Sudan suffered in particular a new wave of torture conducted by government-affliated thugs to get ransom for their release. A disturbing video (see below) was part of report issued by Human Rights Watch on the plight of Eritrean refugees in Sudan and Egypt.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Ghost Houses & Boko Haram: A Conversation

The popular ACTV show "Conversation" hosted Mohamed Elgadi, a co-founder of GATS, and Martha Spiegelman, Amnesty International in Amherst to speak about the status of human rights and torture worldwide.

Why torture is wrong, why it doesn't work, why/how it brings wrong intelligence, what is the connection between Boko Haram in Nigeria and the torture establishment in Sudan? These were just a few of the the topics discussed in the 30-min show.

The program shed light on the hot case of Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian mother whom accused of apostasy in Sudan and sentenced to death (thanks to the international pressure on the regime that forced her release today).

The concealed connection between the Islamists of Sudan and Nigeria was exposed at the ACTV show when Mohamed Elgadi spoke on the training of number of Boko Haram leaders in Sudan @ the African Islamic University in Khartoum.

The show can be watched here in this link 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ghost Houses Wiki page

SUDAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION,

 33rd Annual Conference


Sudan and South Sudan: Boundaries, Borders and the Challenges of Nationhood


 
 University of San Francisco, CA
May 23rd, 24th and 25th 2014



Using Collaborative Data to Expose Torture in Sudan
Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Springfield College (MA)
Nahid Abunama-Elgadi, Amnesty International (CA)
  
When you Google ‘Ghost Houses in Sudan’ the first pages to appear are Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI), and Group Against Torture in Sudan (GATS). However, there is no information available on Wikipedia (Wiki); one of the world’s largest applications for collaborative data. As two human rights activists in the education field, we feel it is necessary to launch a Wiki page to expose this crime worldwide and make authentic data available to researchers in academia.
  
Why are they called Ghost Houses? Who runs them? Are they mobile or permanent fixtures? What’s the justification of torture presented by the regime from an Islamic viewpoint? Who are the torturers? Do Ghost Houses continue to exist? These are just a few of the many questions the immigration lawyers and judges found themselves struggling with. Having this page will connect the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (formerly known as INS) to torture survivors and in turn help its officers better understanding the asylum seekers and provide them with appropriate needed assistance.

From the notorious ‘White House’ in Juba to the infamous ‘Citibank Ghost House’ in Khartoum, the ‘Holy Qur’an College’s Ghost House’ in Omdurman to the Ghost House inside the mosque of the HQ for Security Apparatus in Nyala, S. Darfur; the places of government-organized torture centers in Sudan will be examined in this paper. We hope that in having a global page of collective data, testimonials, location maps and history briefings, we will be able to help researchers, and shed more lights on this crime. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brunei: Torture as a new Penal Code


"The new Penal Code also contains a range of provisions that violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. These include whipping for offences such as drinking liquor or other intoxicating drinks, and the amputation of the right hand and left foot in cases of theft."

Rings a bell? Think so-called Sharia Law of Sudan

DOCUMENT - BRUNEI DARUSSALAM: AUTHORITIES MUST IMMEDIATELY REVOKE NEW PENAL CODE

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT 17 April 2014 Index: ASA 15/001/2014
Brunei Darussalam: Authorities must immediately revoke new Penal Code
Amnesty International calls on the authorities in Brunei Darussalam to immediately revoke a new Penal Code that is due to enter in to force next week.
The new Code, which is scheduled to come into force on 22 April 2014, is a deeply flawed piece of legislation containing a range of provisions that violate key human rights. It must be amended immediately and brought into line with international human rights law and standards before it can become law. If implemented, the Code would signal a major regression for human rights in Brunei Darussalam.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"stop negotiating with those whose hands literally are stained by my blood”

March 20, 2014

This article was originally posted by Sudan Tribune.

Sudan Tribune: Torture survivor calls for rethink on US policy on Sudan

March 15, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – A Sudanese-born torture survivor has called on US president Barack Obama calling to reconsider his administration’s policy on Sudan in light of the recent escalation in violence in Darfur.
There are calls for US president Barack Obama to reconsider his government’s policy on Sudan following a fresh wave of violence in Darfur (Photo: TJ Kirkpatrick/Corbis)
In the latest letter in a series sent to the US government to highlight ongoing atrocities in Sudan and call for change, human rights activist Mohamed Elgadi said the current US policy on Sudan is heading in the wrong direction, saying it should be should be based on a broad political solution that addresses the underlying roots of conflicts in the country.
Elgadi said US policy toward Sudan should be based on a political solution that addresses all of Sudan.
He has called on the US to refrain from dealing directly with those responsible for human rights abuses and to consider a broad-based sanctions system that targets key individuals.
Elgadi’s is the fifth letter sent to president Obama from Sudanese genocide survivors from Sudan’s conflict zones of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as part of an initiative coordinated by advocacy group Act for Sudan.

March 11, 2014

SUDANESE TORTURE SURVIVOR MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO OBAMA

Expresses concerns about “regression” in U.S. foreign 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Download the Pdf of this Press Release here.
CONTACT:
Susan Morgan, 617 797 0451, susan@paxcommunications.org
Elizabeth Blackney, 541 390 1913, eliz@medializzy.com
WASHINGTON, DC – March 11, 2014 – Today, Dr. Mohamed Elgadi, an American citizen and Sudanese refugee, sent a passionate letter to President Obama describing his experience as a victim of torture by the Sudan regime and his belief that the current U.S. policy on Sudan is heading in the wrong direction. This letter is the fifth in a series of letterscoordinated by Act for Sudan, to President Obama from Sudanese genocide survivors. The letters are intended to personally remind President Obama that the people of Sudan continue to be attacked by their own government and its proxies and that his legacy on human rights depends upon his actions. The latest shocking example of such government-sponsored violence took place in late February when more than 35 villages were burned to ashes, dozens of civilians killed and thousands displaced in attacks by troops allied with the Sudanese army.
While in Sudan documenting the government’s humanitarian abuses, Elgadi was arrested, and detained for 118 days in one of the government-operated torture centers known to Sudanese as Ghost Houses. “After being arrested at a peaceful human rights action and taken to a Ghost House, I was subjected to horrendous methods of torture including sexual torture as one of more than 30 different methods introduced by the Islamist regime,” Elgadi writes in his letter. (FULL TEXT OF LETTER INCLUDING POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS BELOW)
In the letter, Elgadi describes the role that two leaders of the Sudanese regime, Nafie Ali Nafie and Hassan al-Turabi, played in the creation and subsequent cover-up of the Ghost House torture system and expresses concern about recent invitations both men have received to visit the United States. “Seeking guidance from leaders who torture their people is a fearful sign of regression in the U.S. foreign policy,” Elgadi writes.
“As a human rights advocate, I completely understand the role of negotiation as a policy you adopted to engage many regimes for a better world. However, invitations to the U.S. to Turabi, Nafie Ali Nafie, and their like in the Sudanese regime is an insult to the torture survivors who took refuge in the U.S. and a complete disregard to their suffering. The minimum you can do, Mr. President, is to stop negotiating with those whose hands literally are stained by my blood.”
The U.S. gave Elgadi asylum after he managed to escape Sudan. Dr. Elgadi earned his M.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of Khartoum and his Ph.D. in Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A committed activist in the United States and abroad, he is the co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Darfur Alert Coalition and a co- founder of Group Against Torture in Sudan, an advocacy group that is working on behalf the victims of torture to get medical and psychological help. Mohamed is a long-time member of Amnesty International and he is the Coordinator of the local chapter in Amherst. He works for ServiceNet, Inc. in Northampton, and teaches at the School of Human Services in Springfield College.
According to Act for Sudan, in the sixth year of Obama’s presidency, he continues to oversee a disastrous approach to the ongoing genocide in Sudan. This approach has failed to prevent the tragic loss of countless civilian lives and the mass displacement and starvation of countless more innocent people. According to the national alliance, President Obama should develop a pro-democracy and civilian protection-oriented policy on Sudan. As then-Senator Obama reflected on his 2006 trip to a refugee camp in Guereda, Chad, “The United States has a stake for national security reasons, as well as humanitarian reasons, in stabilizing this region….If we don’t, we do so at our own peril.”
###
Act for Sudan is an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Act for Sudan is dedicated to advocacy that is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by Sudanese people who urgently seek protection, justice, and peace. For more information please visitwww.actforsudan.org.
FULL TEXT OF LETTER:
Download the PDF of the letter here.
................................................................................................................
March 11, 2014
Dear President Obama,
Since your first term in office, I have followed your foreign policy with admiration and hope. I was inspired by your true enthusiasm that the world can be better by reaching out and listening to the people, not the leaders. Your strong stand against atrocities and heinous crimes of the regime in Sudan made me, and many people, believe there would be a stronger U.S. foreign policy on Sudan, a country I came from as refugee.
I was happy that your administration in 2009 discouraged communication with senior figures in the Sudanese regime who were directly responsible for the killing and torture. However, recently there were some news reports about Nafie Ali Nafie and Hassan al-Turabi that made me fearful of a return to the deplorable policy of “dealing with powerful figures in the regime.”
A former envoy to Sudan from a previous Administration had the gall to stand up in front of Sudanese refugees in the U.S. to say that he trusted working with Nafie Ali Nafie, then President Omer al-Bashir’s advisor. This Nafie, known to Sudanese as Professor Torture, is the founder of the government-operated torture system in Sudan that is infamously known as the Ghost Houses and continues to be one of the key persons controlling the country. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other human rights groups published many reports on the horror of the Ghost Housesand the official policy of torture introduced by the current regime. Nonetheless, in April 2013, the State Department extended an officialinvitation to Nafie to come to the U.S. I was glad to see that, afterwidespread criticism, that invitation was subsequently cancelled.
As one of the many victims of torture of the Sudanese regime, I witnessed first-hand many horror stories and received many more accounts from families of those who could not make it out alive from this web of terror created by the Sudanese regime.
After being arrested at a peaceful human rights action and taken to a Ghost House, I was subjected to horrendous methods of torture including sexual torture as one of more than 30 different methods introduced by the Islamist regime. While my colleagues and I were suffering the worst types of torture, the head of the regime announced in a televised speech that, “the talk about torture and Ghost Houses is just a nonsense and not true.” I, along with 170 detainees, was being tortured at that moment. The guards mocked us saying, “The President gave us free reign because you no longer exist, as he announced to the world.”
At the same time, the ideological and de facto leader in control of Sudan, Dr. Hassan Abdalla al-Turabi, was repeating the same lie at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa. In May of 1992, in a response to a question from Congressman Wolpe (D-MI) about torture and secret detention in Sudan, Dr. Turabi denied the allegation, just as President Bashir did. In January of 2014, Turabi was invited to visit the U.S. by former president Carter “to meet with influential figures and decision makers in Washington.” I fear that the State Department supports this visit, but sincerely hope that this proposed visit does not take place.
Seeking guidance from leaders who torture their people is a fearful sign of regression in the U.S. foreign policy.
The regime in Sudan has been committing crimes against humanity for the past 24 years. The U.S., along with many other countries, has become complicit by its inaction or indifference. Genocide continues in the South, Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and the Blue Nile region.  The Ghost Housessystem has spread all over the country from “Nyala to Kajbar, and from Juba to Port Sudan” as one Sudanese-American musician sings.
A change in the U.S. policy toward Sudan needs to be considered that is based on a political solution that addresses all of Sudan. This policy should include:
Access to humanitarian aid, especially those caught in conflict zones like Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and the southern Blue Nile region.
Efforts toward peace and justice by providing accountability for crimes committed in Darfur and other parts of Sudan and refraining from dealing or negotiating with those directly responsible for the human rights crimes.
A broad-based sanctions system that targets key individuals of the regime responsible for the government of Sudan committing serious human rights abuses.
Democratic reform that is based on separation of religion and state and the promotion of human rights.
The crimes of the regime leaders have been clearly outlined in the indictment of President al-Bashir and his cabinet by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide were just few. Your Administration should be pressing other Security Council members to support the arrest warrants issued by the ICC against suspects and to introduce targeted sanctions against them.
As a human rights advocate, I completely understand the role of negotiation as a policy you adopted to engage many regimes for a better world. However, invitations to the U.S. to Turabi, Nafie Ali Nafie, and their like in the Sudanese regime is an insult to the torture survivors who took refuge in the U.S. and a complete disregard to their suffering. The minimum you can do, Mr. President, is to stop negotiating with those whose hands literallyare stained by my blood.
Respectfully,
Mohamed I. Elgadi
A U.S. Citizen and Torture Survivor
Amherst, MA

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Islamist's Justification of Torture & Rape




Ibrahim El-Sanoussi



: للذكرى والتاريخ 
ــ

: هذه اقوال احد قيادات الانقاذ 

ان كان في التعذيب صوابا فان الله يجزينا عليه ثوابا !!! 
...........

  انني لست من المنكرين انني واحد من قيادات الانقاذ وكل 


الذي حدث من انتهاكات حقوق الانسان كان (باجتهادات)وكنا نرى فيه (مصلحة) للاسلام 

والسودان !! حين اقدمنا على استلام الحكم وان كان فيه خطأ فليغفر الله سبحانه وتعال

ى وان كان فيه صواب فأن الله يجزينا عليه ثوابا وهذا شيء طبيعي .

ابراهيم السنوسي

صحيفة الصحافة 

2000/9/9

Translation:

"If the torture we committed was right, then Allah will reward us  for what we did. If it's wrong,  Allah will forgive us because we did it for there benefit of Islam and Sudan. This is a  normal/natural thing"

It's no difference of what another religious Christian torturer had said:

Julian the Turk


"What I did I did for my Fatherland, my faith, and my 

religion. Of course I would do it again." 




Thursday, February 06, 2014

On Ghost Houses, again...

A very interesting article from a young Sudanese-American, Anab, who eloquently connected the joyful festival of Halloween Ghosts to the real monstrous one in Sudan.

"To survivors of torture in Sudan, ghost houses are places where they were kept in detention, in isolation and under people who lack any ties to humanity. Some of these places are not yet identified and some of their locations continue to be unknown. They continue to be used for the same sole purpose, though, as a tool for intimidation and curbing political opposition and dissent among people. Namely, they are used for interrogating and torturing those who seemingly threaten the power of government, or exhibit any form of opposition to its ideology. Captives suffer the pain and agony of various forms of torture in these obscure detention cells kept under the most inhumane circumstances.
The so-called ghost houses earned their notoriety because their walls—which continue to be occupied by new victims—are haunted by the anguished cries of detainees, who suffered the hostilities by their perpetrators who paid no regard to human life, rights or dignity. As for the forms of torture used against the detainees, they are numerous, and equally horrifying. For example, some survivors have stated that they have suffered a wide range of torture forms, from cigarette burns to their skin, up to extreme forms of physical violations.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Islamists' Ghost Houses in Syria

The Wahabi/Ansar Sunna/Salafi/Muslim Brothers/etc advocates showed the world what their human rights agenda for the Syrian people if they seized power.

Similar to their 'brothers' in Sudan they started building their own 'Ghost Houses' in Northern Syria. Thanks to Amnesty International report that exposed this plan


PRESS RELEASE
DECEMBER 18, 2013
Contact: Carol Gregory, cgregory@aiusa.org, 202-675-8759, @AIUSAmedia

Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an armed group that controls large areas of northern Syria, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.
ISIS, which claims to apply strict Shari'a (Islamic law) in areas it controls, has ruthlessly defied the rights of local people. In the 18-page briefing entitled, Rule of Fear: ISIS Abuses in Detention in Northern Syria, Amnesty International identifies seven detention facilities that ISIS uses in al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo.
Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run in Syria by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)
"Those abducted and detained by ISIS include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Former detainees describe a shocking catalogue of abuses in which they or others were flogged with rubber generator belts or cables, tortured with electric shocks or forced to adopt a painful stress position known as aqrab (scorpion), in which a detainee's wrists are secured together over one shoulder.
Some of those held by ISIS are suspected of theft or other crimes; others are accused of "crimes" against Islam, such as smoking cigarettes or zina, sex outside marriage. Others were seized for challenging ISIS's rule or because they belonged to rival armed groups opposed to the Syrian government. ISIS is also suspected of abducting and detaining foreign nationals, including journalists covering the fighting in Syria.
Several children were among detainees who received severe floggings, according to testimonies obtained by Amnesty International. On one occasion, an anguished father had to endure screams of pain as ISIS captors tormented his son in a nearby room. Two detainees related how they witnessed a child of about 14 receive a flogging of more than 90 lashes during interrogation at Sadd al-Ba'ath, an ISIS prison in al-Raqqa governorate. Another child of about 14 who ISIS accused of stealing a motorbike was repeatedly flogged over several days.
The flag of the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, at the entrance to al-Raqqa.
"Flogging anyone, let alone children, is cruel and inhuman, and a gross abuse of human rights," said Luther. "ISIS should cease its use of flogging and other cruel punishments."
Amnesty International is calling on ISIS to end its appalling treatment of detainees and for the group's leaders to instruct their forces to respect human rights and abide by international humanitarian law.
Several former detainees told the organization that they were seized by masked gunmen who took them to undisclosed locations, where they were held for periods of up to 55 days. Some never learned where they were but Amnesty International has identified ISIS prisons at seven locations: Mabna al-Mohafaza, Idarat al-Markabat and al-Mer'ab, all in al-Raqqa city; Sadd al Ba'ath and al-'Akershi oil facility, both elsewhere in al-Raqqa governorate; and Mashfa al-Atfal and Maqar Ahmed Qaddour in Aleppo.
The Sadd al-Ba'ath prison is beside a dam on the Euphrates River at al-Mansura, where the local Shari'a court judge, who invariably appeared wearing an explosives belt, has instituted a reign of terror over its detainees.
Former detainees accuse him of presiding over grotesquely unfair "trials" lasting no more than a few minutes as other detainees look on, and handing down death penalties which are subsequently carried out. At his direction, detainees have been mercilessly flogged; on at least one occasion, he is said to have personally joined in the flogging.
At al-'Akershi oil facility, which ISIS also appears to use as a military training ground, detainees were subjected to the aqrab as a means of torture, according to the testimonies of two men who were held there in recent months. One spent 40 days in solitary confinement, for part of which he was chained up in a tiny room full of electrical equipment with fuel on the floor.
"After years in which they were prey to the brutality of the al-Assad regime, the people of al-Raqqa and Aleppo are now suffering under a new form of tyranny imposed on them by ISIS, in which arbitrary detention, torture and executions have become the order of the day," said Luther.
Amnesty International is calling on the international community to take concrete steps to block the flow of arms and other support to ISIS and other armed groups implicated in committing war crimes and other serious human rights abuses.
"The Turkish government, in particular, should prevent its territory being used by ISIS to bring in arms and recruits to Syria," said Luther. "As well, Gulf states that have voiced support for the armed groups fighting against the Syrian government should take action to prevent arms flows, equipment or other support reaching ISIS in view of its appalling human rights record."
Amnesty International also renews its call to the Syrian government to allow unfettered access to Syria by the independent international Commission of Inquiry and by international humanitarian and human rights organizations, and to end its violations of human rights and international law, including the use of torture in its own detention centers.

GATS Cosponsor the Human Rights Day in Amherst



A lot of activities and events mark the month of December in Amherst. However, the Human Rights Day is the one our Group usually taking part in.


Along with few more human rights group, GATS cosponsored the screening and discussion of the important documentary Dirty Wars at the Amherst Public Library (aka Jones Library) on Sat 12/7. In addition, Amnesty International used the case of one of GATS founders as a strong evidence of how grassroots can make a difference in releasing human rights defenders.



In a large laminated poster put on a chair by the podium, the Urgent Action # UA 162/92 of Amnesty International of 1992 there was the photo of Mohamed Elgadi, a co-founder of GATS. "Here is one strong evidence that signing petitions does work" said Martha Spiegelman, leader of the local chapter of Amnesty in Amherst before inviting him to speak to the audience.


GATS was alo present at the annual Candle Vigil organized by the Amherst Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Tues 12/10, the United Nations designated Human Rights Day.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

40 Lashes for not Covering your Hair?


Posted by Katrien Hinderdael on Nov 13, 2013
Sudanese are coming together to challenge Public Order Laws and stand behind Amira Osman Hamed. Ms. Osman Hamed, an engineer by training, has been charged with “dressing indecently or immorally,” for refusing to cover her hair.


Let's stand strong against these Draconian Laws that hide behind Islam.