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Journalists plan hunger strike against Sudanese daily’s suspension

February 17 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Protest against the month long suspension of El Tayar daily newspaper (RD correspondent)
Protest against the month long suspension of El Tayar daily newspaper (RD correspondent)

Sudanese journalists in Khartoum have protested against the stop imposed on the publication of El Tayar daily newspaper for 65 days on Tuesday. Several plan to embark on a hunger strike, together with opposition party leader Mariam El Sadig, if Khartoum does not respond to their demands.

El Tayar was suspended for an indefinite period on 15 December last year. A week later, El Tayar editor-in-chief Osman Mirghani and El Sayha editor-in-chief Ahmed Yousef El Tai were detained by National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents. They were questioned for hours about articles that “incite against the government and undermine the constitutional order”. Both were released by the state security prosecutor on personal bail.

Yesterday, journalists carried out a protest against the ongoing suspension in front of the El Tayar office. They demanded democracy and an end to Khartoum’s restrictions on newspapers in their slogans.

Mirghani told Radio Dabanga yesterday that “freedom has become a grant from the government, giving it whenever and to whomever it wishes.

“Sudan lives in a real crisis, including the crisis of the press,” he said, claiming that when El Tayer returns, it could be shut down again because the government decides the extent to which freedom is granted.

“The newspaper will take steps to contest the suspension in less than two weeks. After that, journalists will enter into a hunger strike, with the participation of a number of politicians including Mariam El Sadig (co-president of the NUP),” Mirghani said. They will strike not only to restore El Tayer newspaper, but also to restore freedom of expression for the Sudanese people.

Khaled Fathi, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, told this station that journalists staged a symbolic protest in front of the offices of the newspaper, marking the passage of 65 days of suspension.

“There is a plan to collect one million signatures that demand the return of the newspaper, in addition to the hunger strike in case the government’s response to our demands remains absent.”

Meanwhile, the NISS prosecutor summoned and questioned journalist Nasra Abdallah Abdelrahman, working for the crime department of Akher Lahza newspaper. She wrote an investigative article that was published on 11 November last year about the activity of Boko Haram in Sudan.

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