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Amnesty International Urges Sudan to Release Student Activist

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Amnesty International urged Sudan to release student activist Taj Alsir Jaafa, who participated in a protest at the University of Khartoum in support of people displaced by the Merowe Dam, north of Khartoum.

Jaafa, 25, was arrested by security forces in Khartoum on Dec. 30 while travelling on a bus from the university to his home, London-based Amnesty said today in an e-mailed statement, citing witnesses. His mother, who was told on Jan. 18 that he was being held by the state security police, has been threatened by plain-clothed individuals, it said.

“He is being held incommunicado at an unknown location, and is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment,” Amnesty International said.

At least 73 students were arrested last month during the protest, students said. Jaafar is a coordinator for the opposition The Movement of New Democratic Forces party at the university. He was previously detained in 2009, when he was allegedly tortured, and in 2011, Amnesty International said. He was released without charge on both occasions, according to the statement.

“The police has nothing to do with this incident,” al-Ser Ahmed Omar, a police spokesman, said today by phone from Khartoum. “We never arrest students and we never use violence against students.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Khartoum at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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