18 March 2019

Sudan: Restrictions On Sudan's Press Freedoms Condemned During Vigil

Khartoum — A vigil was held for Osman Mirghani, the editor-in-chief of El Tayyar daily newspaper, in front of the National Press and Publications Council in Khartoum on Sunday.

Mirghani has been held by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) since February 22, when he was detained shortly after being interviewed on the Sky News Arabia network, where he discussed the ongoing protests in Sudan and said they could prompt al-Bashir's removal from office.

The vigil was attended by a number of journalists, media professionals, and correspondents for international agencies.

As part of the event, the staff of El Tayyar daily submitted a memorandum to the National Press and Publications Council demanding the release of Mirghani. After receving the memorandum, the secretary-general of the Council, Abdel Azim Awad, expressed deep concern over the continued detention of the editor-in-chief.

He told demonstrators that the NISS has been contacted, in coordination with the Sudanese Journalists General Union.

According to the secretary-general, the Council will receive the memorandum at its next meeting. He stressed to the crowd that Presdient Omar Al Bashir has made the decision to release detained journalists.

Lack of cooperation

Authorities have not released any information about where Mirghani is being held or what charges may be levied against him. His family has not been allowed to visit him.

Journalists attending the event condemned ongoing restrictions on freedoms, saying that they consider the arrest of Mighani as "detention of free speech".

The memorandum pointed out that his arrest is contrary to the Sudanese Constitution and international covenants of human rights and freedom of expression.

Ongoing press violations

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.

The Sudanese Journalists' Network have said in a statement on Sunday that "more than 90 journalists have been detained since the popular demonstrations erupted in mid-December last year," and ten journalists have been prosecuted in the Emergency Courts.

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