August 20, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the government-controlled Union of Sudanese Journalists (USJ), Mohi Al-Din Titawi, announced on Monday that all journalists arrested in a crackdown during weeks of protests in the country have been released.
- Photo of Sudanese journalist Anwar Awad who was arrested and allegedly tortured following his attempts to cover anti-government protests (source: www.sudaneseonline.com)
Titawi told Sudan’s official news agency, SUNA, that the country’s prisons are now free of journalists. He called on journalists to observe “nationalistic responsibility”.
Many local journalists as well as hundreds of activists were arrested during a violent government response to weeks of protests fueled by worsening economic conditions. Sudan also expelled a foreign journalist for covering the protests which petered out during the holy month of Ramadan.
This week the government released the great majority of those detained, but activists say some still remain behind bars while one activist was freed on the condition that he leaves the country.
Meanwhile, a local journalist who was detained for one day during the early weeks of the protests, published an article on Monday recounting ghastly details of torture that left him with serious health conditions.
Anwar Awad, a stringer for the Beirut-based Al-Safeer newspaper, said he was arrested in the afternoon of Friday, 29 June, in the Wad Nubawi area of Omdurman as he attempted to cover a planned protest.
The reporter who wrote his story on www.sudaneseonline.com said he was captured by security agents riding a pickup vehicle and taken to an interrogation center south of Omdurman, where he said he was consistently beaten with truncheons during the initial interrogation which lasted for several hours.
Awad said he was also insulted, threatened with rape and forced to reveal details of his Facebook account and password. He said that the beating which focused on the head, face and back was very severe.
His release came one day later and he travelled to Lebanon for medical examination, where, Awad said, he had been diagnosed with a ruptured eardrum and a neck injury requiring surgical operation.