Survivors' Stories

Patson Muzuwa
Zimbabwean

I was electrified, put in a drum of cold water and beaten under the foot uncountable times.

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REDRESS on behalf of Dr. Farouk Mohamed Ibrahim v. Sudan

The applicant is a Sudanese national and former Associate Professor at the Faculty of Science at the University of Khartoum, where he taught the subjects of microbiology, plant pathology, genetics as well as systematics and evolution.  On 30 June 1989, a group of military officers seized power in Sudan. The applicant alleges the following: he was detained on 30 November 1989 by members of the security forces, without being informed of the reasons of his arrest or any charges being brought against him at the time of arrest. He was neither formally charged nor brought before a judge following his arrest or during his subsequent detention. 

The applicant, together with 18 other detainees, was blindfolded and brought to Ghost House No.1 (Ghost House refers to rooms or apartments to which detainees were taken and kept incommunicado) and detained from 30 November to 12 December 1989 without having contact to the outside world. He was subjected to interrogations about courses taught and about colleagues by high-ranking members of the security services who took issue with the teaching of evolution and the applicant’s political activities. During the interrogations, the applicant was repeatedly kicked, beaten and flogged, subjected to a prolonged bath in ice water, threatened with rape and death and deprived of sleep for up to three days. The applicant was detained for three days in a small and dirty 1 metre by 1.6 metre toilet room flooded with water before being transferred to another bathroom where he was held together with five other detainees for another nine days. The applicant was later transferred to Kober prison and released on 23 February 1990. He stayed in Sudan but stopped teaching before leaving the country in June 1991 out of concerns for his safety and in protest against the University of Khartoum’s failure to remedy the violation of his and its’ academic freedom. 

The applicant has lodged several complaints about his treatment, the first during his detention in 1990. In 2000, the applicant sent a letter to President Bashir in which he asked the President to take action in respect of the complaints of torture raised in his earlier complaint, outlining three options, namely: i) Truth, apology and mutual reconciliation as first priority; ii) Prosecution before national courts, as second priority; or, as third option;iii) Resort to international human rights courts. As his complaints went unheeded, he took his case to Sudan’s Constitutional Court, challenging the legality of the immunity and prescription laws that blocked investigations and prosecutions in his case. The Constitutional Court of Sudan dismissed the applicant’s case on 6 November 2008. On 6 May 2010, REDRESS brought an application to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on behalf of the applicant, alleging a violation of articles 1, 5, 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.


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