30 January 2018

South Sudan: Journalist Jailed for Covering Food Protests

Khartoum — SUDAN authorities have been urged to release a female journalist arrested while covering anti-inflation protests.

Amal Habbani, the freelance reporter, has been held since January 16 after National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) operatives arrested her during ongoing demonstrations in the capital Khartoum.

Her family reported Habbani has been suffering from injuries sustained when security agents beat her with electric sticks upon her arrest.

During the crackdown, NISS has also been confiscating newspapers. Six other journalists who were covering the protests have been released.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) lamented that Sudanese authorities had repeatedly harassed journalists, confiscated newspapers and were now using brute force to silence a reporter.

"Sudan should immediately release Amal Habbani and stop trying to muzzle the media," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator, Sherif Mansour.

NISS previously filed lawsuits against Habbani for her criticism. In 2013, she was banned from travelling outside Sudan.

Last year, a Sudanese court ordered Habani to pay a fine of Sudanese £10 000 pounds (US$1 430 or R17 000) or to serve four months in prison after the journalist reported on a "politically sensitive" trial.

The repressive government of Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, is facing rising protests against the rising cost of living.

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