Target: Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan
Goal: Investigate the death of student activist and prosecute those responsible.
Abubakar Hassan, an 18-year-old student at Kordofan University in central Sudan, was shot and killed when intelligence agents opened fire on students participating in a peaceful demonstration. According to a report by Amnesty International, “this violent attack is yet another shocking episode in a series of human rights violations against university students across Sudan and underlines the government’s determination to put out the last vestiges of dissent.”
The student activists were marching to the student union to nominate pro-opposition candidates for campus elections. More than two dozen other students were reportedly injured as a result of the violence.
Shortly after the march began, the students were accosted by agents of the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS), who attempted to prevent the demonstration from going forward. One student told Amnesty International that 15 pickup trucks appeared at the university. Inside the trucks were NISS agents armed with AK47 rifles and pistols, who began firing into the crowd.
A month before, on the same campus, security officers roughed up a group of students who were peacefully demonstrating against poor service delivery. Fifteen students were injured and seven were arrested.
Hassan’s death has ignited a wave of protests across Sudan, with people demanding justice for the slain teenager. Kordofan University’s Council of Deans published a statement lamenting the violent incident and Hassan’s death. However, according to Amnesty International, the statement “made no mention of the involvement of NISS agents,” instead describing the incident “as clashes between two rival student groups.”
Sudan’s government has become notorious, particularly in recent months, for its violent crackdown on student dissent. Please sign the below petition, demanding that Sudanese authorities condemn the agents’ excessive use of force and thoroughly investigate the incident.
Dear Mr. al-Bashir,
The death of 18-year-old university student Abubakar Hassan must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. According to eyewitness reports, Hassan was participating in a peaceful demonstration on Kordofan University’s campus when he was shot and killed by members of the National Intelligence Security Services, who arrived to stop the demonstration from taking place.
People around the world are alarmed by reports that your government is using violence to crack down on civil dissent. The right to peacefully demonstrate is guaranteed to everyone under international humanitarian law.
It is imperative that your government (1) condemns the violence perpetrated against the students at Kordofan University and (2) launches an investigation into Hassan’s tragic death. Please see that this happens immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy