In the middle of the night on 14 March 2012, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) abducted a woman named Jalila Khamis Kuku from her home and took her into custody. Denied access to a lawyer and even a change of clothes, Jalila was dragged into a pickup truck in her night gown accompanied by a dozen NISS officers in civilian clothes.
Kuku, who hails from the Nuba Mountains, is a primary school teacher, an activist and a member of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N). She was targeted for helping displaced Nubans who fled the war in South Kordofan and hosting them in her own home. She recorded a video in which she spoke about the humanitarian situation in the Nuba Mountains.
Out of the eight months Jalila has served in jail so far, three of them were spent in solitary confinement. She is now under threat of the death sentence as she has been accused of serious charges under the Sudanese criminal law; namely Article 51, of waging war against the state, and Article 50, which entails undermining the constitutional system. Her trial remains shrouded in secrecy as Kuku’s lawyers are still being denied access to the details of her case.
Activists froms the civil society called for a campaign to release Jalila, and youth movement “Girifna” (We Are Fed Up) participated via a campaign on the 8th and 9th of November to condemn the Jalila's ongoing detention using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. November 14th marks the activist’s eighth month in detention.
@girifna: Thurs-Fri Nov9/10 GIRIFNA will host tweeting campaign 4 Jalila's freedom bc Nov14 will b her 8 months n detention w/o trial #Jalila8Months
On Twitter, netizens from Sudan and other parts of the world rushed to answer the call and tweeted, demanding Jalila’s release.
Aliah Khaled tweeted:
@AliahKhaled: #Jalila8Months #FreeJalila who is a teacher,who speaks about the injustice in her region,who fights 4 human rights shouldn't be where she is
Sudanese journalist Reem Shawkat tweeted:
@ReemShawkat: I dedicate all my tweets today to Jalila Khamis, an activist, mother and teacher in detention since March 14 #Sudan #Jalila8Months
Dalia Haj-Omer, a Sudanese human rights activist, tweeted:
@daloya: Jalila speaks: My children's life turned to hell…they refused to celebrate Eid, it's the 2nd w/o me #Jalila8Months http://tinyurl.com/bqt5lsl
Many others joined the online campaign, relentlessly tweeting:
@Sudanesedream: Jalila Khamis is a peace activist, one of the few persons who stood up against war in #Sudan #Jalila8Months
@Neo0rabie:شهور_يا_جليلة جليلة خميس كوكو ، ذنبها انسانيتها #Jalila8Months
@Neo0rabie: Jalila Khamis Kuku, her only fault is her humanity
@africathinker: Jalila Khamis,will be executed very soon unless we do something.Her crime …speaking out against the Sudanese government.#Jalila8months #Nuba
@ReemHajo: freedom to #Jalila8months who speaks about the truth, FREEDOM to our beloved #SUDAN
@Galaxy717: ننادي بالحرية لمن فقدتها لأنها نادت لغيرها بالحرية وطالبت بحقه ،، فشتان بين من كانت قضيتها وطن وبين من كانت قضيته قبض الثمن #Jalila8Months
@Galaxy717: We call for the freedom of a woman who lost it because she called for freedom and rights .. There is a difference between those whose cause is a nation and those who get paid for their stance
Muzan Alneel condemned the United Nations’ lack of action, tweeting:
@MuzanAlneel: dear #UN when u placed #SudanInECOSOC did u think about #Darfur? #Jalila8months? #Shawa? damn it did u think about #Sudan|ese ppl at all?
“Girifna” vows to continue campaigning for Jalila Khamis Kuku.
@girifna: We are continuing our campaign for Jalila.Raise your voice for a woman who risked her life for the truth #Jalila8Months http://www.girifna.com/7032