Sudan: Nine Arrested, Art Confiscated and Destroyed in Sudan Exhibition Raid

Khartoum — Sudan’s police force raided an exhibition at an art gallery in the El Zuhoor neigbourhood in Khartoum on October 20, resulting in the arrests of nine guests, several art pieces being confiscated, and one destroyed in the process, according to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

The exhibition displayed the work of artist and human rights defender, Ahmed Esam (21), who was arrested alongside his guests who were also young artists and designers. Those arrested were taken to the Federal Police office, where they were detained for some time and later transferred to the Northern Police Station in Khartoum.

They were released the next day on bond and were charged with several offences, including “calling for opposition to authority by use of violence (article 63), disturbance of public peace (article 69) and public nuisance (article 77) of the Sudanese Penal Code”, according to ACJPS.

Although the detainees were released on bond, the police did not return their personal property confiscated during the arrest.

The source of inspiration for Esam’s exhibition was his experience being detained earlier this year in March. According to ACJPS’s report, Esam was subjected to physical and verbal abuse during his 55-day-long detention. According to Esam, he was told by the authroties that he’d “be left disabled, so that you stop printing”.

The Khartoum artist was detained alongside five others for drawing pictures of those who had died as a result of junta violence during protests.