World Medical Association appeals for release of Sudanese doctors

(21.06.2010) The WMA has appealed to the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, for the release of six Sudanese doctors, arrested and detained without charge for their activities as members of the Doctors’ Strike Committee calling for better pay and working conditions for doctors in Sudan.

Dr. Dana Hanson, President of the WMA, has written to the President urging the Sudanese authorities to release the six doctors immediately and unconditionally and to provide them with any medical attention they might require. The six doctors – Dr. Alhadi Bahkit, Dr. Ahmed Alabwabi, Dr. Ashraf Hammad, Dr. Mahmoud Khairallah, Dr. Abdelaziz Ali Jamee and Dr. Ahmed Abdallah Khalafallah – had, according to reports, been detained without charges and some had been severely beaten.Dr. Hanson added: ‘The World Medical Association is deeply concerned by the situation of these six doctors who have been denied the fundamental right to a fair trial and are exposed to ill treatments and torture. We consider them prisoners of conscience, as they appear to have been imprisoned solely in relation to their activities of the committee calling for better working conditions for doctors in Sudan.’

He also called on the President to reform the 2010 National Security Act to remove the excessive powers of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), in particular powers of arrest and detention without judicial oversight for four-and-a-half months.

Dr. Hanson has also written to Mohamed Atta Al-Moula Abbas, Director of the NISS, in Khartoum.A committee of Sudanese doctors has been campaigning since 2003, to improve the working conditions of doctors in Sudan. It has organised several strikes, the latest of which led to their arrests.