222/98-229/99 : Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman / Sudan Summary of Facts 1. Communication 222/98 was submitted by Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman, a law firm based in Khartoum, Sudan, on behalf of Abdulrhaman Abd Allah Abdulrhaman Nugdalla (unemployed), Adb Elmahmoud Abu Ibrahim (religious figure) and Gabriel Matong Ding (engineer). 2. It is alleged that the three persons were put in jail and the necessary investigations carried out in accordance with the 1994 law relating to national security. The acts of these persons had terrorist and propaganda objectives aimed at endangering the security and peace of the country and innocent civilians. 3. The Complainant alleges that these individuals were arrested on 1st July 1998 or around this date and that they were detained by the Government of Sudan without charge and were refused contact with their lawyers or their families. 4. He adds that their lawyers requested, in vain, the competent authorities, including the Supreme Court (Constitutional Division), authorisation to visit their clients. The last of these requests was th rejected on 5 August 1998. There are reasons to believe that these detainees are subjected to torture. 5. The same Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman submitted a similar communication 229/99 on behalf of 26 civilians. These are civilians being tried under a military court, accused of offences of destabilising the constitutional system, inciting people to war or engaging in the war against the State, inciting opposition against the government and abetting criminal or terrorist organisation under the law of Sudan. 6. It is alleged that this court was established by Presidential decree and that it is mainly composed of military officers. Of the four members of the court, three are active servicemen. The communication adds that the court is empowered to make its own rules of procedure which does not have to conform to the established rules of fair trial. 7. The Complainant claims also that all these suspects were refused the right to assistance of defenders of their choice and sufficient time and access to their files with a view to preparing their defense. Violation of the right to defense by lawyers of their choice is allegedly based on the judgment th delivered by the military court on 11 October 1998 with a view to preventing the lawyers chosen by the accused to represent them. Mr Ghazi Suleiman, main shareholder of the complaining law firm, is one of these lawyers. It is also reported that the decisions of this court are not subject to appeal. Provisions of the Charter allegedly violated 8. The Complainant alleges that Articles 5, 6 and 7 (1) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the African Charter have been violated. Procedure th 9. The communication was received at the Secretariat on 28 September 1998. th th th 10. During its 25 Ordinary Session held from 26 April to 5 May 1999 in Bujumbura, Burundi, the African Commission decided to consider the communication. th 11. On 11 May 1999, the Secretariat of the African Commission notified the two parties of this decision. th 12. The African Commission considered the communication during its 26 Ordinary Session held in th Kigali, Rwanda, from 1st to 15 November 1999 and requested the Complainant to submit in writing his comments on the issue of exhaustion of local remedies. Furthermore, it requested the parties to provide it with the relevant legislation and court decisions (in English or French). 13. On 21st January 2000, the Secretariat of the African Commission wrote to the parties informing them of the decision of the African Commission.