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Sudanese journalist imprisoned on publishing case

October 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The press court in Khartoum on Monday has ordered the editor-in-chief of Al-Tayyar newspaper Osman Merghani to pay 10,000 pounds (SDG) (about $475) fine or serve six months in prison after being convicted of violating ethics of the profession.

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Al-Tayyar editor in chief Osman Merghani (L) speaks in a press conference with his lawyer Nabil Adeeb on Wednesday December 16, 2015 (ST Photo)

In 2012, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) filed defamation charges against Al-Tayyar for publishing an opinion article by the university professor, Mohamed Zain al-Abdin, criticizing members of President Omer al-Bashir’s family of misuse of power.

At the time, the NISS suspended Al-Tayyar indefinitely and allowed it to reopen in March 2014 upon a ruling of the Constitutional Court.

The defence lawyer Abbas Ibrahim Ahmed told Sudan Tribune Monday the court has convicted Mrghani and Zain al-Abdin of criminal conspiracy, inciting the feeling of unrest among disciplined forces and abetment of disturbing order and provoking hatred against or amongst sects under the 1991 Penal Code.

According to the lawyer, Merghani was also convicted of violating the ethics of the profession and the responsibilities of the editor-in-chief under the press law.

He added the judge also handed down Zain al-Abdin three years suspended sentence and ordered him to commit to good conduct for five years.

The defence lawyer pointed out that Merghani refused to pay the fine, saying his client would be transferred to Al-Huda Prison in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.

On the other hand, Merghani said in a post at a number of social media websites after the trial session “After a while, I will be transferred to Al-Huda prison on the ruling of the press court against Al-Tayyar newspaper and the writer Zain Al-Abdin in which the complainant is the NISS”.

In May 2016, Sudan’s Constitutional Court ordered to allow Al-Tayyar newspaper to resume publishing following more than four-month suspension by the NISS.

(ST)