Menendez, Leahy Call for Expulsion Of Top Sudanese Diplomat

Menendez, Leahy Call for Expulsion Of Top Sudanese Diplomat

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, yesterday sent a letter to President Trump calling for the expulsion and potential sanctioning of the Charge D’Affaires at the Embassy of Sudan in Washington.

Citing Mohamed Atta al-Moula’s former role as the head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), the Senators refer to a well-documented pattern of gross human rights violations attributed to the NISS during Mr. Atta’s tenure, including the killing of as many as 185 protesters in Khartoum in 2013.

“Allowing Mr. Atta to serve as a diplomat in the United States is an affront to our values and our national interests. We urge you to address this situation immediately,” wrote the Senators. “We urge you to immediately withdraw Mr. Atta’s U.S. visa, require his departure from the United States, and make a determination as to whether Mr. Atta is subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

 A copy of the letter can be found HERE.    

Dear Mr. President: 

We write to express our strong objection to your acceptance of Mr. Mohamed Atta al-Moula as Charge D’Affaires at the Embassy of Sudan in Washington in light of Mr. Atta’s role as the head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). We urge you to immediately withdraw Mr. Atta’s U.S. visa, require his departure from the United States, and make a determination as to whether Mr. Atta is subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (P.L. 114-328). 

A pattern of gross human rights violations attributed to the NISS is detailed in the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and documented by human rights groups.  For example, according to Amnesty International, police and NISS forces were responsible for killing as many as 185 protesters in Khartoum in September 2013.  The reported torture of individuals detained by NISS in connection with the protests has been extensively documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The most recent Country Report on Human Rights in Sudan states that as of September 2017, “the government had not released any public report on the April 2016 killing by National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) of Kordofan University student Abu Baker Hashim during student elections in El Obeid, North Kordofan, nor on the April 2016 killing of al-Ahlia Omdurman University student Mohammed al-Sadig in clashes between pro-government and opposition students on campus.”  Reports suggest that they could be victims of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights, which includes “flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.” 

Just as troubling is the relationship between Sudan’s notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the NISS.  According to Human Rights Watch, the RSF engaged in “torture, extrajudicial killings and mass rapes” against civilians during the course of military campaigns in South Darfur and North Darfur in 2014 and 2015.  The RSF has also been implicated in extensive abuses against civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.  In addition, we note with concern that according to civil society and nongovernmental organizations, the NISS has been implicated in a range of violations of internationally recognized human rights abuses such as physical and psychological torture of detainees, including journalists, civil society activists, and members of the political opposition.  

The RSF was created and is administered by the NISS.  As head of the NISS Mr. Atta is ultimately responsible for the actions of the RSF as well as NISS agents, and may well be more directly culpable for ordering and/or directing alleged crimes and gross violations of human rights, including those listed above.

Allowing Mr. Atta to serve as a diplomat in the United States is an affront to our values and our national interests. We urge you to address this situation immediately.  

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

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