June 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese security authorities have been actively harassing and arresting activists and journalists over the past ten days of growing protests in the country.
The National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) on Tuesday deported Salma El Wardany, an Egyptian female correspondent of Bloomberg News in Khartoum, and briefly detained prominent Sudanese blogger Maha El Sanousi.
The pair already was already arrested together and interrogated for several hours last Thursday, 21 June, while they covered student protests at Khartoum University.
El Wardany’s friends on Twitter say she was deported because she was covering the Sudan protest movement known by the hashtag SudanRevolts.
Her sister also wrote on Twitter that Sudanese security agents treated El Wardany “like a criminal or fugitive.”
El Wardany is the first journalist to be deported for covering the protests but she is not the first to face harassments by security forces. An AFP British reporter was also detained for several hours last week for covering the protests.
Security forces have already arrested a large number of protesters and activists since the demonstrations erupted in Khartoum on 16 June before spreading to several parts of the capital as well as regional towns.
A prominent Sudanese blogger, Usamah Mohammed, has been arrested since Friday and remains incommunicado.
Sudanese activists say between 10,000 and 20,000 people had participated in demonstrations in Khartoum State alone while several other thousands took to the streets in Port Sudan, Kassala, North Kordofan, White Nile State, Darfur and El-Gedarif.
Meanwhile, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday that Sudanese police and security authorities arrested “scores of protesters, opposition members and journalists” since the demonstrations erupted.
HRW also charged that security agents beat people in detention and used rubber bullets and live ammunition to break up the demonstrations.
The United States said last week that it was deeply concerned by the crackdown of Sudanese security authorities on peaceful demonstrators.
The London-based rights group Amnesty International also called on Sudan to “end its ruthless crackdown on protests.”