6 July 2018

Sudan: Two Journalists in Khartoum Sentenced to Prison, Detained

Khartoum — The Press and Publications Court sentenced a journalist to one month of imprisonment and to paying a fine of SDG40,000 ($1,421*). A political party in Kassala has filed a complaint against a critical journalist.

Journalist Yasir Mahmoud El Bishr received an "unfair and disproportionate" sentence by the judge of the Press and Publications Court, said the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper, Ashraf Abdelaziz.

The case against El Bishr in Khartoum followed a complaint that was filed against him for an article he wrote for El Mustagilla newspaper.

In Kassala, the prosecutor of eastern Sudan issued an arrest warrant against journalist Mohamed Osman Babikir under the Information Act.

The Kassala National Congress Party has filed a complaint against the journalist, who criticised the local party on social media.

"I am concerned that they will detain me for a long time." - Mohamed Osman Babikir

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Babikir said that he was summoned by the police. He told Radio Dabanga that he expected to be transferred from Khartoum to Kassala.

"I am concerned about the transfer to Kassala because I could be detained for a long time," he said, pointing out that the Emergency Act that has been active allows the security service and police to detain people for long periods of time. "There have been cases like this in Kassala."

There has not yet been confirmation whether or not Babikir has been transferred.

New Press Act

The Press and Publications Council and Court have recently received more powers following the institution of the new Press and Publications Act by the Sudanese Cabinet.

The new act has added new powers to suspend the journalist from writing and withdraw their license, for the period the council deems appropriate.

International press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement on June 14 condemning the seizure by the Sudanese security apparatus of entire issues of three privately-owned dailies and interrogated two journalists for covering sensitive issues.

* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan

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