On April 12, 2018 the Sudanese police and security forces in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan state arrested the environmental activist Mohsin Mossa from his home. Inside Kadugli police station the activist was informed that the governor of Southern Kordofan Issa Abbakar had made a criminal complaint against him under the article 159 of the criminal act of defamation of the character of the governor. This complaint by the governor was instigated by social media posts accusing him of smuggling gold and abusing his power to facilitate cyanide gold mining factories in the state.
The local environmental activists were protesting through social media against the increasing pollution and environmental damage caused by Cyanide gold mining factories for years. On April 12, 2018 another female activist Awadia Mursal was arrested from her house in Khartoum, and taken in government cars to Kadugli in South Kordofan under the same criminal complaint form the governor. She had also posted and discussed the events relating to gold smuggling and cyanide pollution and corruption that involves the governor.
During the last few weeks environmental activists in Southern Kordofan and local leaders were exchanging social media news accusing the governor of Southern Kordofan of using government cars to smuggle 57 KG of gold out of the state. The story was packed by eyewitnesses who confirmed that the cars were moving from the state offices, and they said the gold belong to the governor and his son as they work in mining in the state have shares in companies working there. The social media activists raise the issue to the media and some parliament members demanded a hearing from the minerals minister in Khartoum . According to the Geological Research Authority of Sudan (GRAS) estimated that every week between 50 and 100 kilograms of extracted gold are sent to Khartoum for black market sale and export. Seventy-five per cent of gold gets smuggled according to media reports.
The tow activists Awadia Mursal and Mohsin Musa were interrogated by police but the prosecutor refused to release them on bail according to the law. Families and lawyers of the activists accused the governor of hindering justice by delaying the release of the activists and of framing the charges against them. The families expressed deep concern after meeting the activists as the prosecutor refused without any legal reasons to grant the detainees their right to be released on bail.
Rights for Peace Foundation calls on the Sudanese government to investigate the illegal delay of the release of the detainees, as they have the right to be released on bail after the police investigation. We also condemn the actions of reprisals against the environmental activists by the governor of southern Kordofan, as the activists were using social media to express their opinion. We call for urgent and fair trial or release of the detainees. We also call on the Sudanese government to respect the peoples economic rights to development and enforce the state environmental law of 2017 to protect people health and land form pollution arising from economic investments like mining.