Journalists held, beaten in Sudan capital
Agents of Sudan’s National intelligence and Security Service (NISS) detained a journalist working for El Jareeda daily newspaper in Khartoum on Thursday. Two other journalists and an activist were held after attending a court session in Khartoum.
Journalist Mohamed El Amin Abdelaziz was severely beaten before he was taken to an unknown destination, the Sudanese Journalists’ Network reported on Friday.
The Network calls on “the Sudanese people, the press, and the civil society “to form a broad front in defence of the detainees and the freedom of expression”.
After a trial hearing against the director, employees, and affiliates of the Khartoum-based Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS) organisation on Thursday, women journalists Amal Habbani and Reem Abbas, and activist Mohamed Erwa, were held by NISS officers, and taken to a security office.
“They accused us of taking photos in the court room, which we definitely did not do,” Habbani, also well-known as human rights activist, told Radio Dabanga the following day.
She recounted how a vehicle belonging to the security apparatus intercepted the car she, Abbas, and Erwa were in after their visit to the court. “They took us by force to their office in Khartoum III, where they took our cell phones, and kept us for two hours.” Habbani said that she was hit in the face when she refused to hand her telephone.
In a statement on Friday, the Sudanese Journalists Association for Human Rights (JAHR) condemned the continuing violence against journalists. JAHR’s coordinator-general, Faisal El Bagir said that the detentions are violating the Sudanese Constitution. He urged the Sudanese journalists “to unite, and confront these violations with official complaints and court cases, strikes, and press statements”.
TRACKS is a Sudanese NGO that provides training on a variety of subjects, from information technology to human rights. It was raided before, in March 2015, during a workshop on social responsibility.
On 29 February, NISS officers raided the TRACKS premises in downtown Khartoum. They confiscated electronic equipment and documents, and detained all people present. Most of them were released on bail after ten days. TRACKS director Khalafallah Mukhtar, trainer Midhat Afifeldin Hamdan, and Mustafa Adam, Director of El Zarga Organisation for Rural Development, who was visiting the Centre when the raid took place, remained detained.
They face espionage and terrorism charges that could carry the death penalty. Their trial and that of three other activists was supposed to begin on 24 August, but was postponed several times.
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