UPDATE: The six Sudanese artists were released from prison; all 11 detained artists are now free
According to Freemuse’s sources, the six imprisoned artists won their appeal and were released from prison on 6 October. All 11 artists detained in August are now free.
— steven markovitz (@stevenmarkovitz) October 6, 2020
Read more below.
2 October 2020
Sudan: Five imprisoned artists have been released from prison; six artists remain in prison
Filmmaker Hajooj Kuka has been released from prison on 1 October, together with four other imprisoned artists, reported RFI.
The producer of Hajooj Kuka’s film, Steven Markovitz, shared the news on his Twitter account.
Great news!! @hajooj and the four artists have just been released 🙂 International pressure made a difference. There are still six artists in jail pending appeal and many more people who have been arbitrarily detained in Sudan. pic.twitter.com/UKzpBVA6QB
— steven markovitz (@stevenmarkovitz) October 1, 2020
RFI further reports that six artists who are still imprisoned are currently awaiting appeal.
Read more below.
1 October 2020
Sudan: 11 artists imprisoned after complaints about their rehearsal
18 & 24 September: According to Freemuse’s sources, the Central Khartoum Primary Court sentenced 11 artists in two separate hearings to two months in prison and a 5,000 SDG (around 77,384 euros) fine for “public disturbance” and “public nuisance” after their rehearsal.
Artists Duaa Tarig Mohamed Ahmed, Abdel Rahman Mohamed Hamdan, Ayman Khalaf Allah Mohamed Ahmed, Ahmed Elsadig Ahmed Hammad and Hajooj Mohamed Haj Omar were sentenced on 18 September while other six members of the group received the verdict on 24 September. According to Human Rights Watch, all members were found guilty of breaching Article 69 of the Sudanese Penal Code treating about public disturbance and Article 77 on public nuisance.
The charges concern a situation from 11 August, when the neighbour complained about the group’s rehearsal being too loud. According to AP News, the complaint followed with the violence from the neighbours who physically attacked Duaa Tarig and with the arrest of the artists on the same day.
Duaa Tarig informed about the sentencing and imprisonment on her Facebook account.
Prominent film director Hajooj Kuka is one of the imprisoned artists. He won international awards for his documentary Beats of the Antonov released in 2014, which deals with the lives of people living in war zones in the Nuba Mountains.
In his message from prison, Hajooj Kuka expressed his hopes for a “change for all artists in Sudan and all of activists, all prisoners and all the people who are suffering from these rules that imprisoned people and give power to the court system that is beyond what is included in the human rights.”
He also added that “the reason we were attacked was because of women participation.”
PEN America calls for Hajooj Kuka’s immediate release.
.@AtRiskArtists calls for the immediate release of Sudanese filmmaker #hajoojkuka who is being held under false charges by Sudanese authorities. Read more about the case: https://t.co/gZzESzgWkb @humanrightsFN @sundancefest @sundanceorg @AFAC1 @berlinale @eurofilmawards
— PEN America (@PENamerica) September 28, 2020
Reports say that after the first sentencing, five imprisoned artists were treated violently. Supporters of the artists managed to have a representative of Sovereign Council visit the prison, which resulted in much better treatment.