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Sudanese security detains 28 journalists for several hours

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Journalists participate in a sit-in outside the the National Council for Press and Publications headquarters in Khartoum to protest the repeated seizure of Al-Jareeda on 29 Dec 2016 (ST Photo)
January 14, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Monday has detained 28 journalists for several hours ahead of a planned sit-in to protest against the pre-publication censorship on newspapers.

Journalists in Khartoum told Sudan Tribune that the majority of the detained journalists work for Al-Jareeda newspaper beside a few belonging to other newspapers.

An official source told Sudan Tribune that any gathering that doesn’t obtain permission from the concerned authorities is considered illegal and would be dealt with through the security organs.

On Sunday, Al-Jareeda newspaper said it would organize a silent march to the NISS headquarters in Khartoum to hand over a memo protesting the arbitrary measures carried by the NISS against it, pointing its copies have been seized for two consecutive weeks due to publishing reports about the ongoing protests.

Among the detainees were the Chief-Editor of Al-Jareeda Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, the publisher of the news daily Awad Mohamed and the Managing Editor Majed Al-Quni.

Following his release, Abdel-Aziz told Sudan Tribune that the police have surrounded the premises of Al-Jareeda since early hours on Monday but it didn’t block the journalists who walked out towards the NISS headquarters to hand over the memo.

He added the NISS agents detained them ahead of the planned march and took them to the political security department in Khartoum North, saying they spent five hours without being subjected to any interrogation.

Abdel-Aziz pointed out that they have been released after the head of the pro-government Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) al-Sadiq Al-Rizaigi had intervened.

He stressed that the editorial team of Al-Jareeda is determined to carry out its work according to the professional editorial measures, saying they would report any events on the ground.

“We would continue to resist all kinds of censorship … We would adopt escalatory steps including carrying out a sit-in at the premises of the SJU and we might go in hunger strike but we won’t give up” he said

Al-Jareeda has been one of the most newspapers in Sudan subject to suspension and confiscation. In May 2016, the NISS confiscated copies of the newspaper four times for five days.

The Sudanese security usually issues verbal directives to the Chief-Editors banning them from publishing particular news especially those pertaining to the protests and armed movements or other issues which the security sees sensitive.

It routinely confiscates newspapers either to prevent circulation of certain stories or to punish them retroactively for breaching unwritten red lines inflicting financial and moral losses on these media houses.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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