International Day in Support of Victims of Torture - 26 June, 2020
“I heard the voice of my friend screaming in pain. I turned my head to see three security officers hitting him hard. One using an electric wire cable, the second using his bare hands, and the third was hitting him hard with the butt of the rifle.” – Awad Haroun, Survivor of Citibank ghost house
Institutional torture has plagued Sudan for the last three decades. The revolution that began in December of 2018 brought the end of a 30-year Islamist dictatorship and the formation of a semi-civilian Transitional Government. Torture is a tool used by the previous Muslim Brothers regime to oppress the population into submission and silence any peaceful resistance. The above testimony is just one example of many the world witnessed when the government brutally attacked peaceful demonstrations. Systematic torture came out of the secret Ghost Houses during the revolution and into the streets of major cities in Sudan.
Over the past few years, GATS managed to document many Ghost Houses. Here are some infamous examples:
2. Elde’ain Street ghost house in Nyala
3. 114 ghost house in Meddani
4. Airport district ghost house in Atbara
5. Security HQ ghost house in Geddarif
6. Former EPLF hospital in Port Sudan (one of the worst Ghost Houses)
This infestation of brutality has left thousands of torture survivors in Sudan and the diaspora. The regime established a torture unit for each police station in every city, town, or village around the country. There are more than 60 Ghost houses in the capital city alone!
GATS demand the Transitional Government guarantee the following steps of action to start healing this open wound:
- All government records (past and present) of torture be made Public Records (specifically those sealed cabinets stored at Citibank Ghost House)
- Transition Citibank ghost house into the National Museum of Torture
- Pass a Transitional Justice Act into law that is led by torture survivors nationwide
- Remove all time limitations for survivors to File Court Claims in regards to torture
Once these demands have been met, the real work of healing/wellness begins. Survivors and their families not only need compensatory and punitive damages awarded but an entire reconfiguration of the mental and emotional health systems or lack thereof in the country. Physical therapy needs to also be accessible and funded by the government. Rehabilitation programs must be created and properly staffed to aide in the healing and care of our communities. Now is time to hold these human rights violators accountable and provide the adequate support to survivors and their families.
GATS want to thank the international human rights community for the continued support and pressure it has placed on the deposed regime to listen to its people. We respectfully petition that they and the rest of the world continue to advocate for survivors of torture in Sudan.