Target: Mohammed Bushara Dousa, Minister of Justice.
Goal: To attain the immediate and unconditional release of teacher and activist, Jalila Khamis Koko.
After nearly nine months of being held in prison without charge, Sudanese teacher and activist Jalila Khamis Koko has been charged with five criminal counts in Sudan. She faces the death penalty. Before being charged, she had been held in administrative detention under the authority of the prosecutor in charge of her case. The first three months that she spent in prison were spent in solitary confinement. The charges are labeled as crimes against the state. The government claims that she has attempted to undermine the constitutional system by publishing false news and reports and exciting general hatred against the government. Her next court appearance will soon take place in the Sudanese city of Khartoum. It is feared that since being imprisoned, Ms. Koko’s health has declined considerably.
Jalila Khamis Koko is a member of the opposition party Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – North, which was banned from operating in Sudan by the government in 2011. This ban is a result of prolonged fighting between the military arm of the SPLM-N and the government of Sudan. She is also a member of the Nuba ethnic group, a population that has faced serious oppression under the current government in Sudan. The arrest and prolonged detention of Jalila Khamis Koko is part of a growing trend of detaining political prisoners and citizens of Nuba ethnicity.
Before she was taken into custody, Jalila Khamis Koko was a volunteer for humanitarian groups attempting to aid Sudanese refugees fleeing the conflict. She had appeared in a number of YouTube videos condemning the violence that were undoubtedly being monitored by the National Security Service in Sudan. Jalila Khamis Koko is being held in detention and now faces the death penalty solely because of her political beliefs. Sudan must immediately and unconditionally release this prisoner and allow for the peaceful expression of viewpoints by its citizens. Sign this petition and demand the release of Jalila Khamis Koko.
Dear Mohammed Bushara Dousa,
The detention of teacher and activist Jalila Khamis Koko in a prison in Khartoum is an unacceptable affront to her human rights. She is a prisoner of conscience who was peacefully expressing her displeasure with the violence currently tearing Sudan apart before being arrested without charge by Sudanese security forces.
The charges that she currently faces are without merit. Her work in aiding refugees of the conflict, whether they be members of the SPLM-N or not, should not be reason enough to have her face the death penalty. Sudan must allow for the freedom of expression and allow for moderate, peaceful voices to dominate the national discussion. By trampling on the human rights of Ms. Koko and countless other prisoners of conscience, Sudan is sending a message to the world that basic human rights will not be respected within its boundaries. Immediately and unconditionally release Jalila Khamis Koko so that the process of bringing peace to Sudan may have a chance.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United Nations Photo via Flickr