10 July 2017

South Sudan: Sudanese Journalist Fined After Reporting On Trial

New York — Sudanese authorities should drop all charges against Al-Taghyeer columnist Amal Habbani, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A court in the capital Khartoum today sentenced Habbani, a columnist for the news website, to pay a fine of 10,000 Sudanese pounds (roughly U.S. $1430) or to serve four months in prison on the charge of "obstructing a police officer from doing his job," according to news reports. Habbani told Agence France Press that the sentence was "unfair," and that she would appeal. She said she would not pay the fine, even if that meant going to prison.

The charges stem from a November 10, 2016, incident when National Security Forces detained Habbani, independent journalist Reem Abbas, and activist Mohamed Orwa for two hours as they attempted to cover the trial of a human rights organization accused of "publishing false reports" and espionage, according to news reports. A NSF officer confiscated Habbani's phone, which he said she was using to take photos during the court session, and slapped her when she protested her detention, according to news reports. Habbani, Abbas, and Orwa denied taking pictures in the courtroom, the reports said.

"Sudanese authorities have a history of harassing Amal Habbani because of her work as journalist," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "We call on prosecutors to stop pursuing her and to let her work freely."

Sudanese authorities have sought to intimidate or silence Habbani for years. In September 2013, police arrested her at a funeral and detained her for days, without contact with the outside world, after the website reported critically on the police's response to protests in Khartoum. In May of that year, authorities prevented her from traveling, without explanation, according to Al-Taghyeer. In 2012, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service instructed the management of her former employer, the daily newspaper Al-Jarida, to ban her from writing, CPJ reported at the time.

South Sudan

An Achilles Heel for the Region

Despite not meeting for two years and having been invited to the negotiation table by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.