Sudan releases detained BBC journalists
Three BBC Arabic journalists, who were briefly detained in Sudan on Monday while covering pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum, have been released. “A BBC team were briefly detained by Sudanese authorities while working in Khartoum. We are glad that the authorities were able to resolve this situation quickly,” the BBC said in a statement.
Those on the march captured on video the moment the journalists were stopped by a group of men in civilian clothes on motorcycles and a white pick-up truck without number plates.
The British ambassador to Sudan, Giles Lever, tweeted that he was relieved the BBC team had been freed and added that the intimidation of journalists had no place in a country striving for genuine and effective democracy.
The detentions follow a pattern of repression and harassment of the press and journalists since the October 25 military coup. Journalists and correspondents of satellite channels and agencies are facing increasing violence and prosecutions by the security forces since the October coup, especially when covering the pro-democracy marches calling for a return to civilian rule.
Photographers Mohamed Khidir and Majdi Abdallah working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua were detained and questioned for hours by the military authorities on January 12.
Crew members of the London-based Al Araby press agency were attacked with tear gas canisters while they were filming protests from their office in central Khartoum on January 4.
In late December, joint security forces stormed the offices of the Arab Al Arabiya and Al Hadath satellite TV channels, assaulted the journalists present, destroyed their equipment, and stole their belongings. Staff members of Asharq News Channel and Sky News Arabia were threatened as well.
During the Marches of the Millions on December 19, a large number of journalists and other media professionals in the capital were beaten and detained. A woman journalist went missing.
In January, the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Culture withdrew the license of Al Jazeera Live, and closed its office in Khartoum.
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