Home | Press Releases    Thursday 7 September 2006

IFJ condemns brutal murder of Sudanese journalist

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INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS

Media Release

September 7, 2006 — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the kidnapping and gruesome murder of Mohammed Taha, editor-in-chief of Sudanese newspaper Al-Wifaq.

Taha was found beheaded yesterday in Khartoum just hours after he was abducted by unknown men. The killing is said to be related to controversial articles Taha wrote last year on the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad.

“We are horrified by this heinous act and we express our sympathy to Taha’s family and colleagues,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We urge the Sudanese government to make sure that they investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

According to an IFJ source in Sudan, Taha left his office for home at midnight on Tuesday. At about 12:30 am someone knocked on his door. When he opened the door, he was seized by men who forced him into a car and drove away.

"Mohamed Taha’s body was found beheaded on Wednesday on the main road of Khartoum," said an anonymous source in Khartoum, who added that some aspects of the murder signalled the involvement of Islamist groups. “Taha was buried on Thursday at 10 am but I think he was too hurriedly buried because there should have been some examination of the body before," the source said.

In May 2005, Taha was tried for blasphemy because of articles published in his newspapers raising doubts about the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad. The prosecutor, some local extremist groups and a huge crowd that demonstrated during the trial sought the death penalty for Taha. They claimed he had insulted The Prophet. At the conclusion of the trial, Taha was fined about 3,000 US dollars and his newspaper was closed for three months. He also apologized in print media.

“The situation in Sudan continues to deteriorate,” said the IFJ’s Baglo. “We renew our call on the President of Sudan Omar El Bechir to release arbitrarily imprisoned journalists and to ensure that journalists can work freely in the country without any form of intimidation or harassment.”

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries

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Communiqué de presse - FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DES JOURNALISTES 07 Septembre 2006

La FIJ condamne le brutal assassinat d’un rédacteur en chef au Soudan

La Fédération Internationale des Journalistes (FIJ) a condamné aujourd’hui l’enlèvement et l’effroyable assassinat de Mohamed Taha, rédacteur en chef du journal privé soudanais Al-Wifaq.

Taha a été retrouvé décapité le 6 septembre à Khartoum quelques heures après qu’il a été enlevé par des inconnus. L’assassinat serait lié à des articles controversés que Mohamed Taha a écrit l’année dernière portant sur la lignée du Prophète Muhammad.

« Nous sommes horrifiés par cette cruauté et nous exprimons notre sympathie à la famille de Taha et à ses collègues », a dit Gabriel Baglo, Directeur du bureau Afrique de la FIJ. « Nous invitons le gouvernement soudanais à s’assurer qu’une enquête soit diligentée et que les auteurs de ce crime soient traduits en justice ».

Selon une source de la FIJ au Soudan, Mohamed Taha, le Rédacteur en chef du journal privé soudanais Al-Wifaq a quitté son bureau pour sa maison à minuit le mardi. Autour de 24 heures 30 quelqu’un a frappé à sa porte. Quand Taha a ouvert la porte il a été saisi par des hommes qui l’ont obligé à entrer dans une voiture et l’ont emmené.

« Le corps de Mohamed Taha a été retrouvé décapité mercredi sur l’une des principales artères de Khartoum. La nature de l’assassinat fait penser que c’est le fait de groupes islamistes », « Taha a été enterré aujourd’hui à 10 heures (temps local) mais je pense qu’il a été enterré trop tôt parce qu’il devrait y avoir une autopsie avant » a ajouté la source.

En mai 2005, Mohamed Taha a été traduit en justice pour blasphème en raison d’articles publiés dans son journal soulevant des doutes sur la lignée du prophète Mahomet. Le procureur, des groupes extrémistes du pays et une importante foule qui manifestait durant le procès ont requis la peine de mort pour Taha. Ils estimaient qu’il avait insulté le Prophète. Taha a finalement été condamné à verser une amende de 3.000 dollars US et son journal a été fermé pour trois mois. Le journaliste a également présenté ses excuses dans la presse locale.

« La situation au Soudan continue à se détériorer » a dit Gabriel Baglo. « Nous réitérons notre appel au Président soudanais Omar Hassan El-Bashir pour la libération des journalistes arbitrairement emprisonnés et pour que les journalistes puissent exercer librement leur profession au Soudan sans aucune forme d’intimidation ou de harcèlement. »

Pour plus d’informations, merci de contacter le + 221 842 01 43
La FIJ représente plus de 500 000 journalistes dans plus de 110 pays

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International Federation of Journalists - Africa Office
17, Boulevard de la Republique, Dakar - Sénégal
Tel : + 221 842 01 42
Fax : + 221 842 02 69
Email : ifjafrique@sentoo.sn / fijafrica@sentoo.sn
Url :www.ifjafrique.org
Url : www.ifj.org

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