Amin Mekki Medani & Farouq Abu Eissa v Sudan
Dr. Medani and Mr. Eissa were human rights defenders in Sudan who were arrested in December 2014. They were arbitrarily detained for over four months, ill-treated, charged with unsubstantiated offences that carried a punishment of the death penalty and subject to an unfair trial. They were released after charges were dropped against them. Their case raises important concerns about the rights and freedoms guaranteed to human rights defenders in Sudan, and highlights the wider practice of arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment and other violations against political activists and human rights defenders.
DR MEDANI & MR EISSA’S STORY
Dr Medani was a distinguished human rights lawyer and Mr Eissa a prominent politician in Sudan. On 6 December 2014 at around midnight, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested them at their homes. They were not provided any reasons for their arrests. Immediately prior to their arrest, both of them participated in political negotiations that led to the adoption, on 3 December 2014, of the “Sudan Call: A Political Declaration on the Establishment of a State of Citizenship and Democracy”, an agreement between political opposition parties, rebel movements and civil society to work towards peace in Sudan.
When they were arrested, Dr Medani and Mr Eissa were not charged with any offences. They were held incommunicado at an NISS detention centre for fifteen days in inhumane conditions, without access to any legal assistance or their families. They were not given any information on the reasons for their detention. They were also denied essential medication required for serious health conditions.
In February 2015 Dr Medani and Mr Eissa were charged with a number of unsubstantiated offences, the punishment for some of which was the death penalty. They were subjected to an unfair trial and held for a further 110 days in degrading conditions.
On 9 April 2015 Sudan’s Minister of Justice announced that the criminal charges against Dr Medani and Mr Eissa were being dropped. Dr Medani and Mr Eissa were released that day, after over four months in detention.
ACTION FOR JUSTICE
In December 2014, when Dr Medani and Mr Eissa were in incommunicado detention, a collection of African and international human rights organisations, including REDRESS, wrote an open letter to the UN and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Special Procedure mandate holders, denouncing the arbitrary arrest and the incommunicado detention of Dr Medani and Mr Eissa.
On 20 February 2015 REDRESS and other NGOs filed a complaint with the African Commission, alleging violations of the African Charter and urging the African Commission to call on the Government of Sudan to release them immediately and unconditionally. Later that month, the ACHPR granted provisional measures requesting that Sudan guarantee that Dr Medani and Mr Eissa have access to adequate medical attention and to lawyers.
In August 2018, the African Commission deemed the case admissible.
On 10 May 2019, the organisations submitted arguments on the merits to the ACHPR, arguing that Sudan had violated Dr Medani’s and Mr Eissa’s rights to personal liberty, a fair trial, free expression, free association, and to be free from torture and ill-treatment. After multiple extensions, the Government of Sudan refused to make a submission on the merits.
In November 2022, the African Commission adopted a decision on the merits, in February 2023, the Executive Council approved publication of the decision, and on 2 August 2023, REDRESS received a copy of the decision.
REDRESS was deeply saddened to learn that Dr Medani passed away on 31 August 2018 and that Mr Eissa passed away on 12 April 2020. The case before the African Commission was continued in their names.
REDRESS worked on the case with pro bono support from the law firm Clifford Chance.
- UN Special Rapporteurs submit letter of allegations concerning the arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of Dr Medani and Mr Eissa, December 2014.
- UN Commissioner for Human Rights calls for immediate release of Dr Medani and Mr Eissa, December 2014.
- European Parliament adopts a resolution strongly condemning the arbitrary arrest and detention of Dr Medani and Mr Eissa and calling for their release, December 2014.
- Legal case filed before the African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights, February 2015.
- In November 2022, the African Commission found that Sudan had violated Dr Medani’s and Mr Eissa’s rights to personal liberty, a fair trial, free expression, free association, and to be free from torture and ill-treatment. The Commission ordered that Sudan:
- pay adequate compensation for material and moral damages;
- promptly and independently investigate the detention, torture and ill-treatment of Dr Medani and Mr Eissa;
- reform the National Security Act 2010 and the Criminal Procedure Act 1991 to align with regional and international standards; and
- adopt and implement procedural safeguards for the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including by ensuring that detention conditions are in alignment with international standards and training security officers.
Case name: Dr Amin Mekki Medani and Mr Farouq Abu Eissa v The Republic of Sudan (Communication 511/15)
Court/Body: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Date filed: 20 February 2015
Current status: Decided in November 2022
Legal representation: REDRESS, ACJPS, FIDH and OMCT (Clifford Chance assisting pro bono).
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) is a non-governmental organisation that works to monitor and promote respect for human rights and legal reform in Sudan.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an international human rights NGO that defends all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) is the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms, with significant depth and range of resources across five continents.