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Human Rights Watch call for release of Sudan Tribune journalist




November 5, 2011 (KHARTOUM) - Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Saturday for the release of Sudan Tribune journalist Ngor Garang, who was arrested Wednesday after a newspaper he edits in Juba published an article critical of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir.

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Sudan Tribune journalist Ngor Garang who was arrested by South Sudan’s security services on Wednesday 2 November. (ST)

On 26 October, The Destiny newspaper’s first ever edition carried an opinion piece saying that Kiir should not have allowed his daughter to marry an Ethiopian. As editor in chief of the newspaper, Ngor was summoned to meet South Sudan’s security services on Tuesday and was detained the next day.

It is not known where Ngor is being held or what charges, if any, have been made against him but it is suspected he is being held at a prison in the Jebel Market area. Attempts by Sudan Tribune to reach officials at South Sudan’s interior and information ministries have failed.

Human Rights Watch’s Jehanne Henry told Sudan Tribune that based on the information available "the arrest and detention of Ngor raises serious concerns about how security officials are carrying out their duties."

Ngor’s detention is illegal as under South Sudanese criminal law a person cannot be held for more than 24 hours without permission from the prosecutor or court.

Article 19(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 states that:

A person arrested by the police as part of an investigation, may be held in detention, for a period not exceeding 24 hours and if not released on bond to be produced in court. The court has authority to either remand the accused in prison or to release him or her on bail.

Jehanne Henry said that Human Rights Watch has found that there is no indication that these legal proceedings have been followed in Ngor’s case.

"South Sudanese authorities should immediately release or charge Ngor according to [the] law, and make known the place of his detention and ensure he has access to legal counsel."

Freedom of expression was one of the reasons South Sudan fought a bitter civil war against north Sudan that lasted over two decades and killed around two million people.

Former southern rebels, the SPLM, have governed South Sudan since a peace deal in 2005 gave the region the right to self determination. In July South Sudan became independent from north Sudan but attacks against the press remain common.

According to Henry, Ngor’s case "underscores the need to ensure that South Sudanese security forces do not copy Sudan’s national security service, which has long been used as a tool of repression in Sudan by illegally detaining journalists, activists, and other opponents of the ruling party in violation of basic civil rights."

The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) released a statement on Saturday calling for Ngor’s release, pointing out that as well as violating Sudanese law, his ’arbitrary’ detention by the security services ’also contravenes the provision of Article 9 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.’

The local human rights organisation said that Dengdit Ayok The Destiny’s deputy editor in chief, who wrote the article criticising Kiir, was detained by South Sudan’s security services today.

Ngor’s arrest has also drawn criticism from press freedom group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"The newspaper has apologised for the article. There is no reason whatsoever Ngor should remain under detention," CPJ’s East Africa Consultant, Tom Rhodes, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

"South Sudan’s government are getting into the habit of arbitrarily detaining journalists for any critical stories printed - this trend must end immediately."

According to figures given to CPJ by South Sudan’s Union of Journalists, Ngor’s extended detention is at least the ninth attack on the press this year.

Nhial Bol, the editor in chief of The Citizen newspaper in Juba has been arrested twice in 2011. Last month he was taken into custody by South Sudanese police after he investigated the business dealings of a Warrap state minister. Earlier this year Bol was taken into custody and had a gun pointed in his face by a police officer in Juba, who said his writing had "spoiled” the image of South Sudan’s SPLM dominated government.

South Sudan’s interior minister General Alison Manani Magaya said last month that journalists should consider the image of the world’s newest nation when deciding what to write and publish.

“Whatever you write always […] think of South Sudan first, read your report and then ask yourself if this goes out does it have any implications on me as an individual, the country or the individual I am writing about? Once you are able to decide this, then you go ahead.”

South Sudan’s ruling SPLM passed up the opportunity to clarify the country’s media laws when it signed a new transitional constitution into law at its independence ceremony on 9 July. In the five and a half years since South Sudan gained self rule adequate guarantees over freedom of expression in the media have not been brought into law.

A September report by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that ’local journalists fear the former rebels turned government officials still harbor a war mentality that is unaccustomed to criticism, and that they are not prepared to extend the freedoms they fought hard to attain.’

On Friday Sudan Tribune’s editor in chief Mohammed Nagi said in a press release, that he condemned "in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest of Ngor," calling for his immediate release.




NEWS ITEM: Sudan Tribune journalist arrested in Juba

PRESS RELEASE: Sudan Tribune calls for South Sudan to release journalist

Below is the article, published in The Destiny Newspaper on Wednesday, October 25, that is believed to have triggered Ngor’s arrest.

Nyan Bany

By Dengdit Ayok

Juba, the temporal capital city of our new born nation on Saturday, October 22, 2011 witnessed a disappointing social episode that was found disgusting and denounced by many patriotic South Sudanese across the country.
Our revered and acclaimed President, Sir Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is one of the symbols of our long historic struggle and who is also a symbol of our sovereignty, dignity, integrity and source of our national pride, handed over his beloved-beautiful elder daughter (Adut) to a foreigner in a wedding ceremony held in the Catholic Cathedral at Rajaf.

The wedding raised our eyebrows because we didn’t expect Nyan Beny (daughter of the President) to be married by a foreigner when many national suit her profile for marriage; this without saying that it matters not how long she may stay in her father’s house. A wedding as we all know is a social function that people go to cheerfully with women ululating. However, the wedding of Nyan Beny that took place last Saturday was attended by a small crowd of people with clouds of sadness gathered in their hearts as it was clear from their faces; because they were upset by the decision taken by the President to give his daughter in wedding to a stranger.

The wedding that could have been attended by thousands of South Sudanese with elation and delight, to display their traditional dances and turn it into a national wedding like the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, was reduced to a very low morale standard function with the attendance of just a few government officials and a minute crowd.

This wedding has not only shocked and angered members of Kiir’s family, but divided it and turned its peace into quarrels and squabbles, it has also shocked the whole nation; because Kiir is a patriotic leader that fought two wars for the wellbeing of his people, a thing which made him valued and highly respected by South Sudanese. But now that he has given his daughter in wedding to an alien, he has to some extent reduced himself in the eyes of his people.

I am writing about about Adut`s wedding because my heart is in pain like the hearts of many zealous South Sudanese who have opposed it, and I am happy that I have a public platform to air out my wrath and the wrath of many fellow countrymen and women. By giving his daughter to a foreigner, our President has stained his patriotism and turned his leadership questionable in our eyes.

This wedding is a demonstration that foreigners have not only monopolized our market, economy and robbed our integrity after penetrating it, but it is also a demonstration that they have taken over our national pride. What else is left if an alien could penetrate all the hedges and invade the house of our President, eloped and impregnated his daughter? Where were the security presidential personnel when that strange guy entered the house of the President?

This wedding of the First Girl which is supposed to be blessed by all South Sudanese including this author is rejected and the religious leaders who blessed the couple in the house of God regardless of their knowledge that she had conceived, have committed a great sin against God for making unholy matrimony holy!




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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 6 November 2011 05:57, by Ahmed Chol

    Why delete all comments? Do you still support freedom of speech? Are you still calling for the release of the Journalist? Or are you contradicting your own principles? I am just curious..... Never mind and thank you?

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    • 6 November 2011 06:00, by Ahmed Chol

      Sorry, delete these comments if you can webmaster

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      • 6 November 2011 06:22, by twins

        South Sudan is bigger than just one person’s pride. Kiir should be advised to give South Sudanese people their right of expression. What would he gain if he get all he wants in his life and his people are whining about how he treat them. Let him swallow is pride over his people.

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      • 7 November 2011 02:03, by Elijah B. Elkan

        Mr. Chol, So your feelings are hurts. Sudanttribune have the right to delete remove anyone if you don’t follow their guidelines/rules. Read below.

        "No inciting violence
        No inappropriate or offensive language
        No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
        No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
        No deviation from the topic of the article
        No advertising, spamming or links
        No incomprehensible comments"

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    • 6 November 2011 06:34, by harry

      What is the big deal about this issue? The South Sudanese girl lost her social status when she started bleaching herself. Who cares about what president’s daughter is doing! In USA, I have seen many of so called South Sudanese girls sleeping around with men from Liberia, Gambia, Tanzania, and White & African Americans. Again, who cares what whores are doing anyway. Thanks


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    • 6 November 2011 21:36, by sanduksanduk

      While there is no justification in detaining a journalist for the article written, the first daughter like any other citizen of the new nation is free to marry any man of her choice. Ngor as a journalist should have known better. Does Ngor have the statistic of citizens married to foreigners? Man! try ur luck some where if u felt charmed out.There are still many lonely hearts out there.

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    • 7 November 2011 02:27, by Deng manyok

      First of all the prisedent’s daughter who married to Ethiopian guy, their marriage can be published by any madia. There isn’t doubt about that. Ngor Garang had done his part as a duty of jourlist and their no reason to be detained by security.However what is shocking most viewer how they know each other. Did Adut was study outside South Sudan or she was married there in JUba.

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  • 6 November 2011 06:51, by Kon Ajith Deng

    If you don’t know,the freedom of journalist is not respected in the South Sudan,you are supposed to be aware of that.
    The married daughter of Mr President by Ethoipian man is a part of corruption in the South Sudan.
    this man wants the money of President,which is the money of the people of South Sudan.

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    • 6 November 2011 07:53, by Deng Bornyang

      Dear All’ the president’s daughter has the right to marry the man whom she think is the man of her choice. That is normal. but, we also need to understand the social rights of someone. Though I am not supporting the arrest, we have no right to inter into peoples’ social affairs. it is upto the president and his daugter to allow that happening. Otherwise nothing much. Mr. Ngor shall be release.

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  • 6 November 2011 07:39, by Agor

    Mr. Ngor should not get involved in family affairs of Mr. President or getting mad because the daughter of the president married to Ethiopian Man. That is freedom to Adut of which journalists are always fighting for. What if himself (Ngor) fall in love with foreigner and decided to marry her, Will it be a crime or shame to him? This was a decision made by Adut but not the father and the father.

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    • 6 November 2011 07:42, by Agor

      I mean the father respected her decision as part of freedom.

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    • 6 November 2011 08:36, by AUGUSTINO DENG

      Dear Mr Ngor,

      I do supported Ngor Garang 100%. Salva Kiir Miyardit is completely a weak and a weak leader in South Sudan. The marriage of Salva Kiir’s daughter by an Ethiopian guy is a useless one. I associated mr Salva Kiir as an "empty barrel". An empty barrel makes noise when there is nothing in side it. You knows what I mean.

      By Augustino Deng. Jech la mer from Tharpam

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  • 6 November 2011 19:00, by mass

    To be honest with you my fellow compatriots of southern Sudan. you must realize that the case of the daughter of our president Salva Kirr Mayardditt for marrying a foreign national is private and family matter which should be respected because it is ridiculous for someone to be angry at issues that don’t concern him/her especially when you unable to stop them from happening.

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    • 6 November 2011 20:11, by Mr Neutral

      Brilliant man,i think u r among the few who understands that the case is purely a family matter and Mr President only respected and blessed his daughter’s decision if am nt mistaken.I just wonder why these comrades are negatively concerned over spilled milk that’s nt of their own even,some went further to associate it with the affairs of ROSS.Love is a natural feeling that prevails to all.

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  • 6 November 2011 20:00, by David Mayen Deng

    Dear commentators,
    There is a difference between journalists’ freedom of expression and getting engaged in spreading rumors about others. Mr. Garang has every right to express his opinion about the nationality of the person our first daughter should have married into. But don’t you all think that he crossed the line when he touched on the first daughter’s state of health? This is where he crosse

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  • 6 November 2011 20:04, by David Mayen Deng

    crossed the line, quote “What else is left if an alien could penetrate all the hedges and invade the house of our President, eloped and impregnated his daughter?” If we allow journalists to engage in spreading rumors about who is HIV+ and who is not; who stole what amount and got away with it? Who did what, where, when, and how, without substantial evidence (pregnancy test result for example), the

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    • 6 November 2011 20:15, by David Mayen Deng

      (connect).....(pregnancy test result for example), then journalism would have no ethics and guiding principles or limits. Such principle put impenetrable divide between the media and women in the jungle bars of Konyo Konyo.

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  • 6 November 2011 20:05, by David Mayen Deng

    Another thing, what if that “refugee” was not a refugee? What if he was Nelson Mandela (younger)? Does Mr. Garang reject all foreigners on principle? Finally, I hope that Mr.Garang is not disciplined by President Kiir’s guards who were accused by Mr. Garang of not only allowing a man to get into the president’s house, but permitting his dishonoring actions inside the house. I thought Mr. Garang d

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  • 6 November 2011 20:07, by David Mayen Deng

    did not honor journalistic ethical-in fact legal- standards. Lastly, having ever been a not so nourished and safe refugee myself, I don’t see anything wrong with carrying that title. You see, while some can connect emotionally to Mr. Garang’s preference, his choice of words and areas of investigation might have landed him in a red zone. My appeal to our President (of course he does not read this.

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  • 6 November 2011 20:09, by David Mayen Deng

    . But let me give it a shot) is that he should order his release after a written apology by him and the newspaper. This way, other journalist will learn about their code of ethics (I hope a code of ethics is drafted and disseminated soon). The president’s wrath should also reach those looters of public funds, not only those who touch his family- both categories are guilty. Actually the latter cate

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  • 6 November 2011 20:10, by David Mayen Deng

    category is guiltier.

    Mayen D.M.A. Ayarbior (dmayend@yahoo.com)

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  • 7 November 2011 04:21, by Mayar

    well, when you became a president, your life became a public issue, anyone can dig in their mouth into it when you have family issue...

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  • 9 November 2011 07:02, by Ween Achak

    Dear All .
    I have agreed to what Majok Aliem said , during the Married ceremory of Kiir’s daughter. married is choice of two people ( specially girl and Man) let people work for the best interest of others.
    Kiir,s daughter is not southern sudan daughter

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  • 23 April 2013 19:23, by dennishobson

    GYB0i1HHfW6EokJJz6cMHk3LFu53fSssanyong madeira plastica composite decking Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this websit

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