The renewal of pritrial detention is arbitrary
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) held the Sudanese government responsible for the life and safety of detainees inside Kober Prison as the numbers of those infected with coronavirus increased significantly.
The prison administration’s deceleration in treating detainees showing symptoms of the infection and the lack of adherence to the international safety measures has turned the prison into a hotbed of the epidemic.
During the last week three detainees were infected with the Coronavirus. Two of them “Ahmed Haroun and Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein” were transferred to the hospital after serious deterioration of their health conditions, whereas “Ali Othman Taha” wasn’t transferred to the hospital until now, despite confirming his infection with the virus.
Statements of families of detainees to AOHR UK confirmed that the prison administration
Families of detainees told AOHR UK that Kober Prison administration was slow to implement the social distancing between detainees despite the outbreak of the coronavirus inside the prison. Each cell contains 5 to 7 detainees and there are 6 detainees in solitary confinement, yet they are not separated during meal times.
The daughter of detainee Ahmed Haroun, 55, told AOHR UK: “My father started showing symptoms of the virus around mid-April. He had flue and the regular medications did not help him. His conditions worsened and he had breathing difficulty, then the authorities had him do a coronavirus test and the result was negative, however, his condition deteriorated further and he was transferred to the police hospital after 13 days. The hospital confirmed his infection with the virus, and he was transferred to the isolation unit of the Universal Hospital.”
The daughter of the detainee Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, 70, said: “On May 16, we received a phone call from one of the prison guards in Kober Prison who he told us that the symptoms of Coronavirus started showing on our father 12 days ago.
Then we learned that the prison doctor examined his condition and diagnosed him with a simple inflammation. After many attempts, I obtained a permission from the prosecution for my father to be examined by an external doctor. On May 19, the diagnosis revealed that he had acute inflammation, high blood sugar and high blood pressure and suspicion of coronavirus infection. Despite this, the prison administration refused to transfer him to the hospital without obtaining a permit from the prosecution, which I got the next day and my father was transferred to the isolation unit at the military hospital. After 12 hours in isolation his health condition further deteriorated and he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit where he still is until now.”
AOHR UK stressed that the medical care provided by the prison authorities after confirming the spread of the Coronavirus is insufficient to prevent the rest of the detainees from getting infected. The authorities have obligations to take the international preventive measures in advance, especially since infected cases inside the prison are confirmed and they mix with the rest of the detainees who are aged over 60.
AOHR UK called on the Sudanese authorities in light of this pandemic to stop extending the pre-trial detention and to replace it with other precautionary measures stipulated in the law until the beginning of their trials. The ongoing pre-trial detention without a trial is an arbitrary penalty which reflects the Sudanese authorities’ practices to expose detainees to the risk of infection with the COVID-19.