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Newspaper to sue Sudan security service for confiscations

December 13 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Press conference of El Jareeda on 12 December 2016 in Khartoum (RD)
Press conference of El Jareeda on 12 December 2016 in Khartoum (RD)

A daily newspaper in Khartoum that has been gagged seven times in two weeks has decided to sue the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) to claim compensation for the financial damage. It launched an initiative to collect donations from readers.

El Jareeda announced to embark on preparing a lawsuit to the administrative court in the Sudanese capital yesterday. Editor-in-chief Ashraf Abdelaziz told Radio Dabanga that the confiscation of the entire print-runs was repeated by the NISS without any reason.

The newspaper has hired lawyer Nabil Adeeb to prepare the lawsuit to claim compensation for the large financial damages the confiscations have done.

“We will not back down on the editorial line of the newspaper,” Abdelaziz said. “We have faced pressure to undo our editorial line before but El Jareeda continues its independent news for the citizens.”

He stressed that the daily “has nothing to do with any political party or opposition movement” and that it professionally reflects what can be seen on the Sudanese streets.

Donations

The newspaper now calls upon its readers to donate money to the value of the total loss it suffered by the confiscations. “This is the first campaign of its kind to counter the punitive confiscations that redue the financial situation of the newspaper,” Abdelaziz said.

He said that already people have responded well to the initiative, and they appointed an auditor to receive the donations. Once the amount of the total loss is reached, excess money will go to charity.

In May this year, the newspaper suffered a financial loss of SDG90,000 ($14,750) following confiscations. The government prevents El Jareeda and several other independent newspapers from placing government advertisements on their pages to obtain advertising revenue.

So far, the NISS has seized 20 print-runs of Sudanese newspapers in the past two weeks. Reasons were not given but the newspapers reported on the recent financial measures and the civil disobedience campaign at the end of November in Khartoum, that protested against the price increases for fuel and basic commodities.

Norway, the UK, and the USA – members of the Sudan Troika – as well as the EU and Canada, issued a joint statement on Wednesday in which they expressed concern at the current spate of detentions and press curbs in Sudan.


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