Human rights activist found murdered

Photo: Tony Webster

A human rights lawyer who was stabbed to death at his Lewisham home is suspected to have been murdered for his political views.

Police today issued an appeal for information about the killing of AbdelSalam Hussain, 56, who was found murdered at his home in Boone Street, Lee on Saturday.

At about 7.10 am, a neighbour noticed Mr. Abdel Salam’s front door was open and discovered his body just inside. He had been slashed across the face and stabbed in the leg. Emergency services were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene. A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as severe blood loss.

Mr. Abdel Salam, who was originally from Sudan before becoming a British national, worked for international human rights organisation Redress as the Sudan adviser, helping victims of torture.

He had also worked for the charities Human Rights Watch and Justice Africa, who have paid tribute to him and describe him as, “a guiding light of Sudan’s human rights movement”.

Colleagues said today they feared there was a political motive behind the attack. Lutz Orzette, 43, a project adviser at Redree, said: “He was very well known in the field of human rights. Some people think there is a political motive. There have been threats against a number of Sudanese human rights campaigners.”

Police say there is no intelligence the lawyer was targeted because of his human rights work but could not rule out the possibility. Detective Chief Inspector Damian Allain, of the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and serious crime command said: “We have a number of lines of inquiry and we believe it is linked locally. “I am keen to trace Abdel Salam’s movements and appeal for anyone with information to come forward to assist my teal with this investigation.

Abdel Salam was a large man, who used two sticks to walk as he had some difficulty. He would travel by minicab or bus to take him to the charity where he worked in central London, and many people would have seen him on his route.”

DCI Allain added: “This was a brutal attack on a defenseless man, made more tragic, as Abdel Slam had devoted much of his life combating the abuse of human rights upon others.”

Anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.

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