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Three journalists covering Sudan protests still in detention

February 2 - 2018 KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN
Amal Habani in her cell during a previous detention by the security service in July 2017 (El Raqoba)
Amal Habani in her cell during a previous detention by the security service in July 2017 (El Raqoba)

A reporter at the scene of the large protest march in Khartoum Bahri this week has been arrested by the security service. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expressed its extreme concern about the week-long detention of other journalists.

During the anticipated protest march in Khartoum Bahri on Wednesday, the Sudanese security service arrested journalist Ahmed Jadein while he was covering the protest. In addition, all printed copies of daily newspapers of El Jareeda and El Midan.

El Jareeda editor-in-chief Ashraf Abdelaziz, for whom Jadein was reporting, told Radio Dabanga that he received a phone call from a security officer on Wednesday evening. “He asked whether the headlines on Thursday’s paper included coverage of marches, and I affirmed.

“On Thursday, security officers confiscated the newspaper for the third time since the beginning of the protests against the rise of prices in January. Our coverage of the demonstrations is professional and had put the events in a proper framework. We highlighted the peacefulness of the marches and the boldness of the demonstrators.”

Abdelaziz added that the repeated confiscations of newspapers cost them great material and moral losses. “In addition the readers lack access to the newspaper.”

The editor-in-chief denounced the arrest of journalist Ahmed Jadein. “We sent Ahmed to cover the march and our administration is making efforts with the media department of the security service to release him.”

Also the Sudanese Journalists Network condemned his arrest, in addition to the continued detentions of journalists Amal Habani and Kamal Karrar.

Habanis illegally detained’

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) renewed its statement concerning the Sudanese journalist Amal Habani who has been held in detention in Khartoum since January 16 for covering one of the price hike protests.

In a statement sent to Radio Dabanga the international media freedom advocacy organisation reported that security agents hit her with steel and electric rods at the time of Habani’s arrest, causing her to suffer palpitations and breathing problems, and to lose consciousness.

“We demand the immediate release of Amal Habani, who has been mistreated and whose detention is completely arbitrary,” RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles said. “We are very concerned and we fear that her already fragile health could get much worse.”

Habani, a reporter for El Taghyeer news website, has been detained for more than two weeks in a women’s prison in Omdurman and not allowed access to a lawyer. No formal charge has been brought against her.

RSF said that human rights lawyers filed a constitutional appeal on January 29, describing her arrest and detention as illegal. Members of her family have been able to see her but they have not been able to ask her any questions about the state of her health, and they do not know if she has been given the medicine she needs for her high blood pressure.

Habani was awarded an Amnesty International prize for her human rights reporting in Sudan. She was among a number of journalists arrested on 16 and 17 January while covering protest marches in Khartoum and Omdurman.

Sudan remains near the bottom of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, in which it is currently ranked 174th out of 180 countries.

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