16 July 2017

Sudan: Security Summons Sudanese Journalist for Second Day in a Row

Khartoum — Officers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) summoned journalist Hanadi El Siddig again on Friday because of a column she published in the El Jareeda newspaper on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, the entire print-run of El Jareeda was confiscated. The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Ashraf Abdelaziz and El Siddig were summoned to one of the NISS offices in Khartoum, after the publication of El Siddig's column on the abuse of power by security officers.

El Siddig was questioned for four hours, after which she was told to return on Friday morning, Feisal El Bagir, the founder and coordinator of Sudanese Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), told Radio Dabanga.

He called the action "a blatant violation of the freedom of expression", and strongly condemned the targeting of women journalists.

According to El Bagir, the summoning is an attempt to intimidate El Siddig as she has been appointed editor-in-chief of the new Akhbar El Watan newspaper, which has recently obtained a license from the Press and Publications Council.

He said that El Siddig and other Sudanese women journalists "are resistant to such threats", pointing to a new JHR report about the abuse of 15 women journalists by the NISS in Sudan in one year's time. The network concluded that the Sudanese security apparatus is systematically targeting the rights of women reporters.

Beaten

On Tuesday, Radio Dabanga reported that journalist and well-known human rights activist Amal Habbani was released from prison after a crowdfunding campaign raised enough money to pay a fine for refusing to cooperate with security agents.

Habbani was halted by a security agent in March this year, who told her to hand over her mobile telephone on the grounds that she had photographed NISS officers at a court session against the human rights training centre Tracks.

When she asked for his identity card, he took her to the NISS office, where he beat her. "During the court session the security agent denied the incident before the judge and brought false witnesses who said he did not beat me," she said in a recorded message after her release.

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