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Sudan tortures journalist arrested during clashes with former rebels


March 31, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese authorities had arrested a journalist working with Sudan Radio Service and released him five days later after being tortured by the Sudanese security service. The journalist was detained during the coverage of last week clashes in the Sudanese capital between the Darfur former rebel group and the police.

Last Saturday 24 March Nichola Dominic Mandil was in Omdurman on assignment for Sudan Radio Service to investigate the shootout earlier between members of the Minawi faction of the SLM and police. After he and other journalists were turned away by police, he said he was arrested while waiting to catch a taxi.

He said several men, some in military uniforms and others in plain clothes, then bundled into an unmarked car and took him to the first of a few interrogation centers.

Sudan Radio Service bureau producer in Khartoum was released Wednesday 28 March after being detained and tortured for five days by Sudanese state security organs.

He said he was accused of being a foreign agent in Sudan promoting American ideology. The independent Sudan radio service is funded by USAID.

"They caught me around 8 pm on Saturday and searched everything that I was carrying. They questioned me and took my ID card. They took me with them and asked me about Sudan Radio Service and EDC. From there they moved me from place to place. They blindfolded me. They moved me to places that I cannot recognize because it was night. They did many things to me: they kicked me, beat me on my back and insulted me with all sorts of abuse. At last I found myself at a police cell in Omdurman North. They kept me in the cell for five days, from Saturday to Wednesday night when they released me at 11 pm. They took all my equipment with them and they are still with them at the moment." Mandil narrated his ordeal.

The Sudan Radio Service said it had not yet been able to retrieve the radio equipment or Mandil’s personal cell phone from the security organs.

According to a statement by the Sudan human rights Organization, on March the 24th, police, security, and army regulars heavily armed with tanks and short-range rockets attacked at the al-Muhandiseen area in Omdurman a residential place of civilian members of the Minawi-led Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) - the rebel group that signed the Darfur Peace Agreement with the the government last May in Abuja.

The attackers destroying the whole residence, the armed attack killed immediately 10 SLA members and three policemen. The State forces then launched massive arrests of the SLA members in different areas of the National Capital, including the SLA headquarters in Omdurman. The campaign continued all this week in and outside the National Capital. The Organization maintains a list of 79 detainees.


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