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Paper seized, editor, journo charged in Sudan

October 11 - 2016 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

Agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated the print run of El Watan newspaper on Sunday, after printing without revealing the reasons for the confiscation.

Sources confirmed that the reason was an article related to the strike of doctors and the health crisis in Sudan. This has been designated a ‘red line;’ subject and the media have been ordered not to report on the matter.

On Saturday the NISS summoned journalist Shaza El Sheikh of El Jareeda newspaper and questioned her for three hours about an article published about corruption in El Managil locality and services' demands.

On Thursday, the press and publications court charged El Midan newspaper editor, Madiha Abdullah, and journalist Mohammed El Fateh Himmet, under criminal law and the law on the press and publications in publication on corruption in Halfaya lands.

On Monday El Geneina criminal court acquitted El Rai Elaam newspaper reporter Aladulin Babikir for lack of evidence. Aladulin described the trial as “political in legal attire targeting all the forces defending human rights”.

The security services initially filed a complaint against Aladulin on charges of incitement of the so-called ‘bread revolution’ riot, criminal damage and public nuisance against the backdrop of the of demonstrations of bread which broke out in El Geneina, where the local authorities prevented the bakery owners from the use of wood and coal, despite the lack of gas in 2015.

Press curbs

During the past years, the NISS upgraded its already severe restrictions on press freedoms by restoring 'pre-publication censorship' and issuing a number of 'red lines' on matters that are not supposed to be covered by the media.

The purpose of confiscating print-runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially, the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda explained in an earlier interview with Radio Dabanga. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press,” he said.

Sudan rates 176, together with Gambia and Venezuela, of the 199 countries listed in the Freedom of the Press 2015 report of the USA-based Freedom House.

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