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Sudan: Journalist held for criticising Kassala state govt.

August 3 - 2018 EL GEZIRA / KASSALA
Journalists on strike in Khartoum, December 5, 2017 (file photo)
Journalists on strike in Khartoum, December 5, 2017 (file photo)

Journalist Mohamed Osman Babikir has been detained on charges by eastern Sudan’s Kassala state authorities.

An armed police force stormed Babikir’s home in El Sumir village in El Gezira on Tuesday night, and took him to Khartoum in a humiliating manner.

He was not allowed to get dressed or take his telephone with him.

On Wednesday, the family of Babikir was surprised to receive a telephone call from him, saying he was transferred from Khartoum to Kassala.

He said the state of Kassala filed a complaint against him under the Information Act for criticising the state government on social media.

A number of eastern Sudanese journalists have announced their “full solidarity” with Babikir. They described his arrest as “shameful, provocative, and inappropriate for state institutions”, and accused the governor of Kassala for using the State of Emergency imposed in the state more than six months ago for improper purposes.

The Arab Network for Crisis Media expressed its concern over the future of press freedoms and the freedom of opinion in Sudan in a statement on Thursday.

The Network condemned the repression of journalists and columnists by preventing them from covering or commenting on specific issues, the far-fetching restrictions on newspapers “in various forms”, by the Press Law and Information Act, halting the distribution of print runs, and hindering the acquisition of advertisements.

According to the Arab journalists, the Sudanese authorities intimidate and silence the press to divert the attention from the many corruption practices in state institutions and the deteriorating economic and security situation in the country.

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