Date: March 28, 2013
By BosNewsLife Africa Service
KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)-- A Sudanese Christian aid worker has been jailed for over a month without charges while outside her prison walls Christians were killed in bombardments by government troops, rights activists and residents said Wednesday, March 27.
Salwa Fahmi Suleiman Gireis, 64, was from her home in the capital Khartoum by men identifying themselves as members of the National Security Service (NSS) and "may be detained in conditions amounting to ill-treatment," said rights group Amnesty International (AI) in a statement.
The same day, February 12, the men returned "and confiscated her passport, as well as the house’s electronic equipment, including laptops, a desktop computer, tablets and a router," AI said.
"Following Salwa Fahmi Suleiman Gireis’ arrest, plainclothed men visited the family farm and put cupboards containing Bibles under seal. They reportedly killed the pigs that were being raised there, and stole a motorcycle."
The NSS reportedly also summoned a relative of Salwa Fahmi Suleiman Gireis for questioning.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
"Salwa Fahmi remains in detention. While her family has been able to visit her once and to bring her medicine for her high blood pressure, she has not been charged and has been denied access to a lawyer," AI complained.
"She is at risk of ill treatment," the group said, adding that it considers Salwa Fahmi "a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her peaceful work with a religious organization."
News of her detention followed fresh reports that Sudanese government forces have stepped up air strikes against predominantly Christian, ethnic Nuba civilians in Sudan's troubled South Kordofan state.
In one of the latest incidents two civilians were killed and a dozen seriously wounded on March 19 when a Sudan government Antonov airplane dropped bombs on them in the Hadra area, Christians said.
The government’s Russian-made Antonov aircraft have also been linked to other attacks in recent months, including dropping bombs that reportedly killed six Christians on January 9 in Dabi town, and destroying an Evangelical Church building in the Angolo area on March 11.
Local Christians say attacks have increased since South Sudan split from Sudan in a 2011 referendum.
Though South Kordofan is part of (North) Sudan, it is home to pro-South Sudan communities, especially in the Nuba Mountains, some of whom fought alongside southern rebels during the long civil war.
Nuba people in South Kordofan state claim however that the government’s announced goal of eliminating Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) rebels is also used as an excuse to crackdown on Christianity in the region.
Amid the chaos, nearly 4,000 Christians have been rescued from Sudan under the 'Exodus' program, almost double the number originally planned, aid group Barnabas Fund said last week.
However displaced Southerners, who are mainly Christian and African, remain in make-shift camps on the outskirts of Khartoum, according to aid workers.
Local Christians say they experience persecution and discrimination in overwhelmingly Muslim and Arab Sudan. The country's President Omar al-Bashir had reportedly pledged to make his African nation's new constitution 100 percent Islamic.
AI made clear that the government should respect human rights, such as those of imprisoned Christian prisoner Salwa Fahmi Suleiman Gireis.
The group also urged Sudanese authorities to release her "immediately and unconditionally" or "to ensure that, for so long as she remains in detention the conditions are humane and that she has immediate access to medical attention and to a lawyer of
AI said the "Sudanese authorities" should " cease the harassment and intimidation of Salwa Fahmi Suleiman Gireis’ family."
There was no immediate response from officials.