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'Detained for criticising Darfur Governor': released journalist

April 8 - 2016 EL FASHER
Journalist Ibrahim Bagal Siraj (middle) holds a Free Al Jazeera staff sign. He was released after a 55-days detention in El Fasher on 4 April 2016, for 'opposing the state' (Photo from media sources)
Journalist Ibrahim Bagal Siraj (middle) holds a Free Al Jazeera staff sign. He was released after a 55-days detention in El Fasher on 4 April 2016, for 'opposing the state' (Photo from media sources)

The authorities in North Darfur released the detained journalist Ibrahim Bagal Siraj after he spent 55 days in prison this week. “My arrest was based on directives from the North Darfur Governor, via reports of the security apparatus.”

Siraj was released last Monday, 55 days after the security service transferred him from detention in Khartoum to the prison in El Fasher.

The journalist had written several articles about the Governor of North Darfur, Abdel Wahid Yousif, criticising his political, organisational, and administrative performance, and other state issues, that led to his detention, he told Radio Dabanga yesterday.

“All the complaints filed against me were releated to committing crimes against the state, opposing the state, and inciting tribal sedition,” Siraj said.

“It is my right as a journalist to talk and criticise the state performance,” he stressed, adding that his his release was based on the lack of evidence against him.

Siraj has filed his grievances to the President of Sudan, to whom he urged to hold Governor Yousif accountable. “President Al Bashir, during his tour in the Darfur states last week, said that he would hold accountable any Governor who unfairly treats any citizen.”

On 25 February, Siraj was rushed to the hospital in El Fasher because his health deteriorated following his transfer to the prison.

Arbitrary arrests, seizures of newspaper issues and forced closures are all often used to control news and information in Sudan. Ranked 174th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Sudan is notorious for hounding its news media, Reporters said.


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