Sudanese Journalists Face Trial for Covering Protests

Protestors at Zalingei camp in Central Darfur (file photo).

Khartoum — Two journalists are expected to appear in court today for news coverage of the protest actions in Khartoum. A newspaper editor-in-chief has remained in detention starting Friday night.

Journalists Khalid Fathi and Hamad Suleiman will appear before the Khartoum East Court. Journalist Tegi Osman is expected to appear before the Khartoum Court on March 11, in a similar complaint that has been filed by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for covering the peaceful marches in Khartoum.

El Tayyar editor-in-chief Osman Mirghani has been in detention since Friday.

On Monday, the Sudanese Journalists' Network issued a press statement that the recent arrests and complaints are adding "to the variety of shameful practices and violations of the security apparatus against the Sudanese press.

"The network will continue its activities in exposing the security service's plan, which works to terrorise and intimidate journalists and confiscate the freedom of press."

On Monday, Sudanese authorities did drop charges against journalists who were arrested during the third month of protests throughout Sudan.

The Khartoum East Court decided to drop charges against 35 protesters, including journalists Feisal Mohamed Saleh and Husameldin Haider, Musab El Hadi and novelist Abdelghani Karamallah.

The Public Order Court dropped charges against journalist Durriya Gambo. As the complainant failed to appear in court, the Judge ruled the charges unproven.

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) and the Sudanese Journalists' Network said this month that 79 journalists have been arrested since December, including some who have spent a month or more in the prisons and detention centres.

With the proclamation of the State of Emergency on Friday, the NISS demanded that El Jareeda newspaper have its print and online content corrected and approved by the security apparatus on a daily basis prior to publication. Akhbar El Watan newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Sudanese Congress Party, has been banned for the fifth week in a row. Other newspapers have been seized or banned as well.

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