These harassments began in October 2022, when the Humanitarian Aid Commission issued the administrative decision No (23) for year 2022, ordering the revocation of the Sudanese Consumers Protection Society's registration, the seizure of its assets and properties, and the effective suspension of its activities. Following that, a legal case was filed against the association's administration under Article (177) of the Criminal Code of 1991 on grounds of breach of trust. It is worth noting that this is the same provision that was used by the coup authorities following the October 25 coup to lodge criminal reports against members of the Dismantling Committee. These procedures were carried out by the Humanitarian Aid Commission's General Registrar (Mohammed Hashim Ali Abdo) without conducting any investigations with the association's management, in violation of the provisions of Article 14 of the Voluntary Work Law, which gives the Registrar the right to cancel the registration of any national association, foreign or charitable organization registered, after conducting the necessary investigations.
Despite the association's appeal to the relevant authorities, Dr. Yasir Mirghani was repeatedly harassed and detained by the authorities, most recently on April 11, 2023; and he remains in custody to this day.
The Sudanese Consumers Protection Society has been a crucial civil society platform since its inception in 1998, fighting for public rights, uncovering corruption, and opposing arbitrary actions against citizens. The Society recently won a lawsuit against telecommunications companies after the coup of October 25, 2021, compelling them to restore internet service that had been cut off during the coup on the orders of the coup authority, which appears to have enraged the coup authorities against the organization.
The rapidly evolving political dynamics should not make us to lose sight of the escalating assault on civil society, freedoms, and public space, of which
the current assault on The Sudanese Consumers Protection Society is the most prominent example.
Fikra for Studies and Development urges all national, regional, and international civil society organizations, political parties, trade union entities, and other active social groups to join in solidarity with the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society in the face of this oppressive attack. We also urge international actors involved in the current political process to give public rights and freedoms top priority in their communications with the coup authorities and endeavours to end the coup. The persecution and mistreatment of the Sudanese Consumer Protection Society and Dr. Yasir Mirghani is one of the most egregious manifestations of the coup of 25 October 2021.
We point out that what the Consumer Protection Society is experiencing is a prelude to a more intense assault on all civil and human rights organizations, which use the methods of security repression and the arbitrary application of legal texts against civil actors and activists inherited from the era of the National Congress Party and its deposed president, Omar Al-Bashir.
Fikra for Studies and Development April 13, 2023