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Detention of Sudan Tribune journalist enters second week

Sudan Tribune


Detention of Sudan Tribune journalist enters second week

Wednesday 9 November 2011

As the detention of Sudan Tribune journalist Peter Ngor Arol Garang enters its second week, pressure is growing on the South Sudanese authorities to release him and another independent journalist Dengdit Ayok. International and South Sudanese human rights groups have condemned their illegal detention by the National Security Services (NSS) in Juba.

On Tuesday 8 November Reporters Without Borders became the latest rights group to join the campaign for their release: “These arrests highlight the difficulties of working as a journalist in South Sudan and the risks that media personnel run in this young country, in which no law protects them” Reporters Without Borders said. “We call on the authorities to free Garang and Ayok without delay and to quickly pass laws that regulate the work of the media and protect journalists from arbitrary imprisonment of this kind.”

Amnesty International on Monday 8 November said that: "Both men are believed to be held in the NSS headquarters in Jebel. Neither has had access to a lawyer or to their families. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment."

Ngor’s case has also been taken up by Human Rights Watch and local civil society groups, the Association for Media Development in South Sudan, the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy and the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization.

Government officials have been reticent to comment on the issue but it is understood that the arrests were triggered by an article Ngor published in the Destiny, a newspaper he edits in Juba. An editorial written by Dengdit criticised South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir for allowing his daughter to marry an Ethiopian man.

Although Sudan Tribune does not support the sentiments of the article, we strongly defend Ngor and Dengdit’s right to freedom of expression and the independence of the media. Their prolonged detention is a clear breach of their human rights and South Sudan’s legal system, which prohibits detention for more than 24 hours without the permission of a court.

Reports vary over whether Ngor was arrested on Tuesday 1 November or Wednesday 2 November after being summoned by NSS. Dengdit was arrested on Saturday 5 November from the office of the Destiny newspaper by NSS members, some of whom were armed.

An online petition created by Sudan Tribune calling for the two journalists to be freed had attracted over 350 signatures by the evening of Tuesday 8 November. The petition urges the South Sudanese government to pass laws guaranteeing press freedom.

On Monday 7 November the Committee to Protect Journalists’ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said it was "alarming to see the world’s newest nation already arresting journalists under vaguely worded accusations". He also called for the ban on the Destiny newspaper to be lifted.

Sudan Tribune asks that the United Nations and embassies in Juba pressure the South Sudanese authorities to free both journalists. We would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who have worked publicly and behind the scenes to secure their freedom and ask that these efforts continue until they are both released.

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

What can you do?

Sign this petition asking for our colleague to be released and pass it on to your friends and contacts. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/release_ngor_garang/

Download the Amnesty International statement to get the contact details for South Sudan?s minister of information, interior and justice to lobby for their release. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR65/003/2011/en

Press Releases:

Reporters Without Borders - Authorities urged to free two journalists and reopen their newspaper

AMDISS - AMDISS Regrets Arrest and Detention of Destiny Editors

Amnesty International - Urgent Action: Two Journalists Arrested in South Sudan

Committee to Protect Journalists - South Sudan security detains two journalists

CEPO - Juba: Freedom of Expression should prevail

SSHURSA - SSHURSA Demands Realease of Editor Ngor & his Deputy Dengdit and Urges Security Organs to Respect the Constitution

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune calls for South Sudan to release journalist

Media Coverage:

Sudan Tribune - Amnesty International joins calls for the release of Sudan Tribune journalist

Sudan Tribune - South Sudanese journalist released, two remain in detention

Sudan Tribune - Human Rights Watch call for release of Sudan Tribune journalist

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune journalist arrested in Juba

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune launches petition for release of journalist

About Sudan Tribune

Sudan Tribune is a non-profit website based in Paris that was started in 2003. Our goal is to promote plural information, democratic and free debate on Sudan and South Sudan. In 2011 we started an Arabic version of the site sudantribune.net.

Sudan Tribune has no relationship newspaper of the same name which is published in Khartoum and Juba. The newspaper was established after sudantribune.com but chose to take the same name.

The site is run by a team of independent journalists from Sudan and South Sudan Sudanese and international journalists and editors.

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