Abu Zar Ali Elamin, the deputy editor in chief of an opposition newspaper, is now accused of terrorism and espionage. Prosecutors also charge that he attempted to undermine the constitutional order. The journalist, whose Rai Al Sha’ab newspaper is tied to the Popular Congress Party (PCP), was arrested with three other newspaper staff on the morning of 16 May. The journalist’s captors last week beat him and subjected him to electrical shock, according to PCP sources. A bruise on the journalist’s back is clearly visible in a photo received by Radio Dabanga (pictured above). Hassan Al Turabi, the leader of the PCP, is also under arrest.
PCP lawyer Mohamed Al Alim told Reuters news agency that neither Turabi nor the three other detained journalists have yet been charged. However, ruling party official Rabie Abdulatti Obeid said that Turabi’s newspaper is guilty of having enflamed the situation in Darfur. He told Voice of America radio service that Turabi used his newspaper to try to plunge the country into chaos, provoking the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to withdraw from peace talks. “This (publication) led the leader of JEM (to) stop negotiation with the government, and also escalate the situation in Darfur by attacking villages and civilians; and, the matter resulted in so many victims,” said the official.
Direct censorship in Sudan has resumed after a period of months in which the practice was suspended. On the night of 19-20 May, security forces raided the offices of the newspapers Ajras Al Huriya and Al Sahafa. The authorities prevented the papers from printing roughly half of their content for the next day. Baroud Sandal, a legal adviser to Rai Al Sha’ab newspaper, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that that the closure of the newspaper violates the constitution, the law and even the security law itself.