DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. 2008. Mr. Monozande: "The war came and the rebels massacred my whole village and my family (my wife and 8 children). I was shot so many times I do not know how I survived. I often dream about armed men hunting me down or of my family being alive - But when I wake up I am alone and terrified. I want to escape to another country where I will be safe. Thank you."
© Copyright Jim Goldberg / Magnum Photos
Posted by REDRESS on March 22, 2010
REDRESS mourns the loss of our beloved colleague and friend Abdelsalam Hassan Abdelsalam who tragically died in London on 13 March 2010.
Abdelsalam Hassan, Sudan Legal Advisor at REDRESS, was a renowned lawyer and intellectual who played a leading role in the struggle for human rights and justice in Sudan over the last three decades. We will greatly miss his depth of knowledge and commitment and the conviviality with which he enriched our daily lives.
REDRESS invites you to leave a comment which we will publish on this site, please email REDRESS at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Metropolitan police are investigating and retain an open mind as to the motive for the murder of Abdelsalam Hassan Abdelsalam. An incident room has opened under DCI Damian Allain from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command based in Lewisham.
An appeal for more information into Abdelsalam's death was shown on Crimewatch. To watch the video, please click on the link below:
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call the Met police incident room at Lewisham on 0208 721 4805 or go to Crimewatch's website on the link above. Also you can go to the Metropolitan Police’s Public Notice by clicking on their website: http://cms.met.police.uk/news/appeals/murder_investigation_launched__1
Please accept my deep condolences on the shocking death of Abdelsalam Hassan. A friend and a colleague that I have know and worked with closely over the past few years. I will miss Abdelsalam's presence, his ideas, his ability to lessen his thoughtfulness and the interaction with his warm and pleasant personality.
Abdelsalam has introduced Redress' work to the large community of Sudan advocates and activists, he always strived to engage The Sudanese from different backgrounds in the efforts towards creating a fair and just legal system for the country. That was his major burden and goal.
Abdelsalam's loss has left most of us in a state of pain and shock. He will always be present with his work and the issues he dedicated his short life to.
The terrible and shocking news that Abdelsalam Hassan has died is impossible to absorb, all the more so when the details we know so far suggest that he was murdered in his home in London.
Abdelsalam became a part of my life in 1990 when he joined our small Africa Watch office on Borough High Street in London. Here he found a home and we found a friend and a colleague dedicated to improving human rights in Sudan. He brought enormous knowledge of Sudan with him, as well as courage, and he followed developments there like a hawk, keeping us on our toes with his sharp intellect and constantly enriching our knowledge. True to what he valued as humane and enlightened, and as faithful to the history and character of Sudan and the Sudanese people, he rejected and challenged what he saw as religious bigotry in the country he loved so much. He and I spent many hours talking about politics and religion, and I learnt a lot from him.
He also brought humour and wit and a natural curiosity about the world around him. A kind and sensitive person, he never failed to ask me daily, with genuine empathy and concern, how things were going in Somalia at the time.
I worked again with Abdelsalam at African Rights. His continued involvement with us, and his presence amongst us, was a constant source of assurance and pleasure. You knew you could count on his ability to find out and to fathom what was happening in Sudan, and on his perceptiveness in making sense of it.
I started to get news of Abdelsalam again through working with the REDRESS Trust. And it was only this past week, when I was planning a trip to London to visit REDRESS, that I was hoping to catch up with him.
His death is a loss to Sudan, and will be an enormous source of sadness to his colleagues at REDRESS, and to his many friends around the world.
I am very sad, and will always remember the kindness and warmth of Abdelsalam â€“ we had some nice conversations when we were staying late in the office, and his kind ways often made me feel better at times when I was feeling down and lonely in London.
I had great admiration for his engagement and his work- and your work together.
As we all mourn the tragic loss of Abdelsalam, I wanted to communicate to you and his other colleagues at REDRESS my heartfelt condolences. He will be remembered as a pioneer fighter for rights, freedoms and democracy in Sudan and beyond.
It so shocking to hear such a news, Abdelsalam is a big loss to all of us and to the human rights movement in Sudan, for his effort, inputs and deep analysis. Abdelsalam, since I got to know 2 years ago, had such a support to the violence against women movement globally and in Sudan. He is a great loss to us.
May his soul rest in peace.
Despite his pedigree, Abdelsalam welcomed me to REDRESS by patiently listening to what must have seemed like silly questions, by offering sage counsel borne of his vast experience in all things Sudan and through his trademark wit delivered with a broad smile.
Despite the difficulties he faced in work and in life--or perhaps because of them--Abdelsalam projected a comforting sense of warmth and understanding to those around him. His personality had a way of filling the room: no one was exempt from a humorous jab, no subject was too sensitive for ridicule.
Abdelsalam had much wisdom to impart. He was also a model of courage and integrity for anyone working towards justice and freedom or trying to make sense of the world.
The world has lost a true fighter, teacher and friend.
I will never forget his kindness. May he rest in peace.
Abdelsalams' tragic and untimely death is a great loss to his family, friends, colleagues and even those who just knew him personally.
For me it is a shock and a tragedy....our last meeting in Kampala on the Redress law reform project now strangely enough seems somewhat like a prearranged fated rendezvous to bid farewell..and bring to an end a long beautiful relationship with a most wonderful person...We first met in early eighties when as a young lawyer he imposed his presence as an outstanding defender of human rights and the rule of law notwithstanding the harassment of the then military regime including arrest, detention and intimidation.
Following shortly after the 1989 coup d'etat he left with his wife and only daughter to the UK he decided to stay and obtained refugee status..when in 1991 we reestablished the SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION,SHRO, in exile, of which I became President,he joined as a member,soon to become its Secretary General for several years in charge of all its activities...membership, branches in other countries, newsletter, correspondence, attendance at human rights meetings and conference, especially the annual meetings of the UN COMMISSION ON Human RIGHTS in Geneva,supporting asylum seekers England..etc all at virtually no cost to SHRO...For his living he was hardly able to manage with the meagre stipend paid to asylum seekers.At different times he also worked on human rights in Sudan with Human Rights Watch,then with Justice Africa where he and common friend Alex De Waal worked on the Civil PROJECT for Sudan with meetings of many Sudanese activists in Kampala in 1999 and 2001.His last task was as legal adviser for REDRESS TRUST working on reform of the Sudanese Criminal Law culminating in the last meeting in Kampala with about 20 experts from Sudan, Africa and the Arab world.
Abdelsalam was known for his courtesy,tolerance,patience,wit and intelligent sense of humour with literary writing talents and interest in poetry and politics.
He was simply a wonderful person...may his soul rest in peace.
It is really sad to hear that such a sweet man and committed human rights defender was brutally murdered... I am absolutely shocked.
Unfortunately I did not have the chance to get to know him very well during my internship at REDRESS but the few times I spoke to him showed me how bright, brave and kind Abdelsalam Hassan was. It is a very sad and huge loss.
Abdelsalam. A big man physically, and with a very big heart. For his family, especially his daughter, this is a most terrible time, and at REDRESS too there is a sudden gaping hole. The humans rights movement is weakened by his death but much more importantly it was strengthened by his life. He is mourned by his colleagues and friends everywhere, of which there are many. We will always remember him with great affection and with great respect for his work, his friendship, and his courage. And we will miss him.
I am very sorry about Abdelsalam's death. I met him briefly but he came across as a kind and hardworking man. May he rest in peace.
As I am writing this, it is around the time of the day that I would be talking to Abdelsalam about our work on Sudan and whatever challenges we faced. This was part of an ongoing dialogue about human rights in Sudan, the country that he had to leave reluctantly, cared about deeply and longed to go back to. Abdelsalam wouldnâ€™t talk lightly, though often irreverently, about developments in Sudan, his work and thoughts being informed by three decades of first-hand experience of political and human rights work. Despite his long years in exile, he remained rooted in Sudan and the Sudanese community.
What made Abdelsalam stand out was his commitment, unique intellect and analytical skills as well as, perhaps more than anything, his ability to communicate. This ability stemmed from a love for language, particularly Arabic, and a keen interest in people. He was concerned about how people treated each other and had a genuine abhorrence of violence (including against animals as he was a vegetarian) and any form of injustice. His views and attitudes were based on years of study, active participation in political life (for which he spent a brief stint in prison in the 1980s), reflections and continuous conversations with a great many individuals. They were also deepened by his often painful experiences of, and in exile. This trajectory enabled him to develop a sense of, and empathy for the suffering of others, especially those at the margins of society. It is no coincidence that Abdelsalam took such a strong interest in the rights of women, of Southerners in Sudan or the Christian Copts. His knowledge of history and appreciation of the strength of feeling that human rights violations entail was evident when we were in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan a few years ago. He knew how to relate to people, many of whom started to talk for the first time publicly about what they had suffered in the 1990s. It is for these reasons that Abdelsalam was at the forefront of those calling for, and working on how to address the legacy of violations. â€œThe Phoenix State: Civil society and the future of Sudanâ€ that he co-edited with Alex de Waal in 2001 is a milestone for transitional justice in the Sudan.
Abdelsalam was an excellent lawyer, which I came to learn over the years in our joint work on litigation, being able to distil the essence of a case and to develop the arguments that mattered. More importantly, he was a lawyer who had a strong commitment to the rule of law and democratic values, which he fought for during the final days of the Nimerie regime and the transitional period in the 1980s in Sudan and from outside since. In this endeavour, he developed a unique ability to bridge the gap between the older and younger generation of lawyers and activists in Sudan who he interacted with and brought together.
Abdelsalam was also a formidable political analyst. His analysis of Islamism and of Jihad in Sudan, published as chapters in a book edited by Alex de Waal, Islamism and its Enemies in the Horn of Africa, are among the finest, if not the best of their kind on the subject. His interest in history, admiration for Egypt (as a country not necessarily its politics), appreciation of the ambiguous role of the British, and an in-depth knowledge of both political theory (in particular the left) and Islam meant that he had gained a unique understanding of Sudanese politics. It was in particular his detailed knowledge of the Koran and Islam that was a source of surprise to many who knew him as an atheist.
Abdelsalamâ€™s first love was literature. He was an avid reader with a fine appreciation of a range of different types of literature, and wrote short stories and poetry himself. One of his enduring gifts to me is that he rekindled my interest in Kafka, a writer who like no other captured the nature of power and powerlessness in the face of injustice. Sharing his enthusiasm for Kafkaâ€™s writing was typical of his passionate intellect that knew no boundaries in seeking kindred spirits.
On a personal level, Abdelsalam was great company to be and to work with. He had an amiable and jovial personality and would lighten up our office life with his presence. He cared about his colleagues and friends and sought to help as much as possible, in particular by trying to cheer others up even when he had problems of his own. We travelled together a number of times and each trip was memorable in its own right and full of anecdotes, particularly about the long nights spent together. Abdelsalam knew how to work hard if needed. He was always ready to do what he could to advance our work and to promote his ultimate vision of a democratic and peaceful Sudan committed to the rule of law and human rights.
We had just returned from an expert seminar on criminal law reform and human rights in Sudan that we organised in Kampala in early March. Abdelsalam was in high spirits and full of plans for our future work on law reform and litigation in Sudan and with the Sudanese human rights movement that he was such an integral part of. He had overcome a great deal of personal adversity over the years and was turning the corner on his health problems. He was even thinking of returning to Sudan where many of his friends and family where eager to welcome him back and to work with him on a number of human rights initiatives.
Abdelsalamâ€™s death is horrible and tragic. It will take a very long time to come to terms with a crime that has caused such a momentous loss and has taken away one of our finest and well-liked colleague, friend and good citizen from our midst. But his death, and the circumstances thereof, must not be allowed to overshadow his life. Abdelsalam would have surely wanted us to build on his legacy and to work towards making his vision come true even though he was cruelly denied any hope of seeing it happen. As he would have put it in his favourite words â€œthe struggle continues.â€
Abdelsalam, where have you gone? Why has anyone done this to you? I will miss you terribly.
I saw the really sad news about Abdelsalam and wanted to send my condolences. I only met him once at the meeting we had together in London, but he stands out in my mind as a remarkable figure who really made an impression. What a sad lossâ€¦
We were shocked to hear of Abdelsalamâ€™s passing this morning. He was not only a brilliant lawyer but also a warm, kind and helpful person. His laughter was contagious.
Working with Abdelsalam was pleasurable. He will be remembered for his incisiveness and the ease with which he approached seemingly complex issues. He paid attention to detail and always said things as they were.
We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate his life and reflect on his contributions to the human rights movement in Sudan and the wider continent.
You will be terribly missed Abdelsalam.
During my time at Redress I worked with Abdelsalam on a number of occasions. Whether it was dealing with expenses, flight arrangements or organising meetings he always had a smile on his face and was never short of anecdotes. Abdelsalam you will be sorely missed and I still can not believe that you are gone. I will always remember you as a wise man with a heart of gold. I feel honoured having had the chance to work with you. Farewell my friend....
I am a resident in Boone Street and I just want to let you all know, all the people here are shocked and saddened by the death of your colleague.
Many of us knew him by sight and were unaware of the good work he did at Redress. Abdelsalam always came across as a gentleman, lived quietly and would greet a hello with a smile and return the hello.
It is indeed a tragic waste of life and we all hope that whoever did this will be brought to justice.
Once again, please accept our condolences.
This very tragic, we lost a great man with great heart and unquestionable passion for justice and respect for human dignity. I met him last December 2009, during his last visit to Sudan; we spent a few hours together, he was as ever an excellent analyst and with great hope for change in the country. I was always impressed by Abdelsalm's detailed knowledge about Islam, although he is a committed secular and a free thinker. This is, undoubtedly, a great loss for the human rights movement in Sudan, as well as to his friends and family. But the flag of justice and the torch of freedom will never been lowered or extinguished in Sudan. And most credit goes to people like Abdelsalam Hassan.
We will greatly miss his smile his great sense of humor and his intellectual abilities.
I mourn with you all of us the tragic death of our friend and colleague Abdelsalam Hasan Abdelsalam. By his death we have lost a brave and a great intellectual Human Rights defender who challenged hostile circumstances through decades putting his own life several times at risk to voice out and protect the rights of millions of voiceless people in our country. We will miss him always.
I was shocked to hear of the grisly assassination of Dr. Abdelsalam Hassan. Right thinking members of society in the Sudan, other African countries, and elsewhere owe Abdelsalam the conscientious duty of recognizing his dedication to the cause of freedom, equality, and human dignity.
It will be some consolation if the cowardly assassin are traced down and brought to retributive justice.
May God repose his soul in perfect and eternal peace.
My dear Abdelsalam, I have so many thoughts and memoriesâ€¦ I can think of our trip to Khartoum more than five years ago, it was my first trip, and your first return after an absence of many years â€“ I remember you showing me around â€“ and all the anecdotes about how things had changed, how other things were very much the same. You were my confidante in the office at the end of a long day â€“ we spoke about work but also all sorts of other relevant and much less relevant things â€“ life, love, health, aspirations, politics, religion. I will miss our banter â€“ which was often pretty heated, usually sarcastic, occasionally darkly humourous, there was always a certain twinkle in your eye, also in mine... I will miss you.
It is truly shocking to have lost our thoughtful and gentle colleague in this way. Abdelsalam was a warm presence in the office, particularly when it was just the two of us left â€“we seemed to share the habit of working after hours. Abdelsalam always had a wise and poetic phrase to contribute, giving me advice on becoming a parent and somehow summing up the state of affairs in his unique combination of drama and good humour. You will be sorely missed.
The notoriously unreliable printer that sat beside Abdelsalamâ€™s desk regularly gave us the space to chat in the midst of a busy working day. We usually discussed family, with him speaking so warmly about his daughter in particular, and Edinburgh where he had previously lived. He told me all kinds of anecdotes about Scotland and its people and taught me quite a few things about my country. His vast intellect not only of law and human rights advocacy but also of politics and culture was always present. He never imposed it â€“ in fact, quite the opposite; he was a very humble man â€“ but it just came through even in the most trivial of conversations. But what I admired most about Abdelsalam was his inherent humanity; he took such an interest in every one of us. He was kind, sensitive and courteous. We are all so sorry that he has gone.
Dear Friends (Family) in Redress,
Please accept my sincere condolences on the huge loss of our friend and colleague Abdelsalam Hasan.
For me, London is not London without him Life is not excactly life without him.
Now is the time for the assassins.
It was with a sense of shock and sorrow that I learned the death of Abdelsalam, and i know that these feelings are shared by all who new him and worked with him during his years in Baath Party between 1969-1977, and Sudanese Communist Party 1980-1994, as well as his time working for human rights organisations. Abdelsalam was talented lawyer. I have known him very closely since 1967, and he will be missed by us all.
It is with great sadness that CIHRS mourns the murder of noted human rights lawyer, intellectual, and friend Abdelsalam Hassan Abdelsalam in London on 13 March 2010.
Although based in London for the last several years, Abdelsalam grew up and was educated in Wadi Halfa, Sudan and dedicated his life to the cause of human rights in his native land. For over 30 years, Abdelsalam fought for freedom, democracy and the victims of torture, among others. For the past three years he worked as a Sudan expert at REDRESS, a London-based NGO dedicated to seeking reparation for victims of torture.
A strident opponent of fanaticism and racism of all forms, Abdelsalam will be remembered for his blazing intellect, the depth of his sincerity and his unflinching commitment to improving life in his country.
Tragically killed at 56, CIHRS extends its condolences to Abdelsalamâ€™s immediate family in London, extended family in Sudan and colleagues around the world.
He will not be forgotten.
The few times I spoke with Abdelsalam he was always kind and had funny stories to tell and seemed to have a great sense of humour. He seemed a very warm person and am sure he will be missed among all of you.
Abdelsalamâ€™s death shocked everyone who knew him or read him or just came in contact with him. To me his death felt like a personal loss, the loss of a member of a family. That family is the one of activists and scholars who devoted their time and whatever they have to the noble cause of human rights. When I met him in Kampala after twenty years since we last met face to face, he was the same smiling and gentle face. Every word he uttered meant something and every gesture he made assured me of the goodness of humanity. He was comfortable with everyone and everything. In that hotel in Kampala it would have been legitimate to complain and wine about the stairs; it was not possible to do so when one saw â€œthe gentle giantâ€ walking with a stick and balancing his weight on a recently injured foot climbing without a single complaint. I offered to bring his food from the buffet but he would not hear of it.
With all these wonderful traits, why wasnâ€™t I able to see his departure, through that saying I used to hearing and using â€œDeath is choosy, it only chooses the best amongst us.â€
May Allah bless his beautiful soul and rest him in peace, and give us the ability and energy to finish a small part of his dreams for humanity.
Please accept my sincere condolences on the terrible and very shocking death of our beloved Abdelsalam.
What a night mare? No words can stand to portray my grief, Abdelsalam he is humane, tender and compassionate person I have ever met, Abdelsalam has the aptitude of making you feel like you are the only person in his universe, I got to know Abdelsalam when we worked together on the strategic litigation project in Sudan since last June, although it wasnâ€™t a long period but it was like years for me, I learnt great deal from Abdelsalam he awarded me with a huge ripple of hope, like always his way with all, what a great loss, he cant be gone? He canâ€™t be gone?
As Lutz said, we will take a very long time to come to terms with a crime that has caused such a momentous loss and has taken away one of our finest and well-liked colleague, friend and good citizen from our midst.
My promises to our beloved one I will never set the flag down the struggle continues.
I was devastated to hear of the death of dear ABDELSALAM. Such a lovely man and such a brutal and futile end. A waste of a very special person: wise and tough; gentle but strong. A man of compassion and kindness. He was a joy to know and the shock is still strong.
I would be so grateful to know if there will be a funeral or memorial for him. I so much want to pay my respects.
Abdelsalam is a great loss.
To me personally, to Najlaa and am sure to you. He was the one who teamed up with us, shared with us his insights and dreams, but most importantly listened to us.
Let us think together what we can do to his name and family.
Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of our friend Abdelsalam, Abdelsalam is a great loss for Sudanese people, and certainly for all those who value human rights and dignity, It is very tragic losing him that way, his commitment to his work on human rights, did a great deal to raise the profile of rights, and to give voice for those who can't speak for themselves.
He will be remembered with enormous esteem and genuine warmth and respect by all those with whom he worked, studied and befriend in and outside Sudan. May he rest in peace.
For Alex de Waals' full tribute to Abdelsalam, please copy and paste the following link: http://blogs.ssrc.org/sudan/2010/03/14/in-memoriam-abdel-salam-hassan/
The untimely and cruel loss of Abdel Salam has left so many of us inconsolable. In his intellectual and moral strength, and his deep gentleness and humanity, Abdel Salam touched more people more profoundly than he knew.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to share the middle-office with Abdelsalam for a few months. The days were always fun. Often he would ask me about my life, loves, beliefs, not the normal office conversations I was used to, but I enjoyed speaking with him as he had a playful curiosity that was impossible to resist, and he cared about everyone. There was always laughter in the office when Lutz, Kevin or anyone else stopped by. I learnt a lot about Sudan and his life there, I would like to have learnt a lot more from him.
Abdelsalam (the slave of peace). The Defender of justice and human rights despite all the odds. Your tragic death is untimely and shocking to your family, friends and colleages. You have left a terrible and great vacuum in our life. We will miss your warmth, intellect, sincereity and love for humanity.
I have just read in my local paper about the horrible and tragic death of Abdelsalam. I can hardly believe it. It is terrible and shocking and I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. I so fondly remember Abdelsalam at work and was delighted when I bumped into him last year on the street (we live fairly near each other) looking so well. Whilst at REDRESS, he was always so supportive, so willing to share his knowledge and expertise in a way that was patient, kind and showed his absolute dedication and passion for his work. It is shameful and shocking that a man, such as Abdelasalam, who fought against such injustice and violence in Sudan, to then be mindlesslessly attacked here in London. I know he will be a great loss to the human rights movement, to his friends and colleagues in Sudan, to the team at REDRESS who valued his contributions and team spirit so much and of course to his family. Thinking of you all......
With love and best wishes
As Trustees of REDRESS, we add our voice to those of Abdelsalamâ€™s many friends and close colleagues who have paid tribute to a man who lived his values and helped others to live them, too. Abdelsalam was a presence in life â€“ whether working from his now empty chair at the REDRESS office in London, challenging fellow human rights lawyers from across Africa in Kampala or, more recently, negotiating hoped-for constitutional reform in his native Sudan.
Abdelsalam loved words and language. Perhaps itâ€™s not surprising that Kafka was a favourite author, given the absurdity of the worlds he inhabited as refugee in the UK and as Sudanese law reformer in exile.
Those who knew him best describe him as warm, humorous (if sometimes darkly so) and literary; an intellectual of acumen, wit and humility; and above all, as a man of courage and courtesy, the deep courtesy that derives from self-knowledge and respect for others. The common thread of these telling words and thoughts is human dignity, the informing principle of all human rights. Abdelsalam personified human dignity and showed that light unto us all, devoting his life to the achievement of human rights.
I am not usually lost for words but in trying to pay tribute to Abdelsalam, words are hard to find. His warmth, his humour, his kindness, his integrity: they all struggle to be mentioned first. And his dedication to the struggle to bring human rights and justice back to Sudan. He did not live to see that and we miss him terribly. Yet others will live to see it and Abdelsalam would have wanted them to redouble their efforts. A luta continua.
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