Darfur Bar Association: ‘Charges will be brought against lawyers for racist rant on microphone’

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) says it has agreed with the former director of the National Radio and Television Authority, Luqman Ahmed, to open a criminal complaint against members of the Defense team of alleged plotters of the June 30, 1989 coup d’etat, who were overheard by a hot microphone hurling racial slurs at Ahmed.

The debacle began last week, when a scorching microphone during an intermission in the trial surprised lawyers Abubakir Abdelrazek and Mohamed Shawkat, describing the former director as a “slave” (which is often used as a term pejorative for black people in Sudan) and having “a big nose”.

The DBA called on all legal entities and partners to designate their representatives to initiate the procedures and set up a secretariat to ensure follow-up. The association said the door will remain open for membership from human rights organizations and civil society forces.

Other groups called for an investigation into the incident and called on authorities to revoke the licenses of the two lawyers who engaged in racism.

In response, a group of 20 Sudanese and international human rights and civil society NGOs issued an urgent appeal to the international community “to draw attention to the growing threats of racism, hate speech and intolerance in Sudan”. Hate speech and public calls for incitement to ethnic violence, including via social media platforms, are increasing unabated amid the silence of the Sudanese authorities, NGOs lament.

The head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, General Abdelfattah El Burhan, fired Luqman Ahmed from his post as director of the National Radio and Television Authority on April 10. According to El Burhan’s media adviser, the director was removed from his post due to his decision to cover the anti-coup protests and “ignoring the news from El Burhan”. The director was originally appointed by former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

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