Sudan: Detained Journalist Released - Some Media Remains Gagged in Sudan

(File photo)
1 December 2021

Khartoum — Sudanese authorities have released journalist and Sudan TV staff member Maher Abuljoukh after he spent 33 days in the security service detention centre near the Shendi parking lot in Khartoum North. Media continues to be silenced in Sudan and Hala 96 FM radio has been off air since the morning of the coup on November 25, 2021, by order of the military junta.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga after his release Abuljoukh said that on November 25, he heard knocks on the door of his house in Doroshab, Khartoum North, at exactly 3:30. When he opened the door, he saw four soldiers, three of them armed with Kalashnikovs, the fourth was carrying a pistol.

They told him to get into a four-wheel-drive vehicle, where they seized his mobile phone. He was taken to the detention centre of the Political Security near the Shendi parking lot in Khartoum North - which used to be part of the headquarters of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) during the regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir, and popularly called The Fridges, as it contained detention cells that were kept as cold as possible.

Abuljoukh spent two weeks in solitary confinement. He only left his cell twice, the first time when he was taken to another cell, and the second time to have his head shaved. After that, the treatment changed, and he was allowed to leave his cell, contact his family, and practice sports in the courtyard of the detention centre, where he met with other detainees, including Khaled Omar, Minister of Cabinet Affairs when he was held, journalist Fayez El Seleik, Taha Osman, Jaafar Hasan, Ismail El Taj, and others.

During his detention, Abuljoukh was not subjected to any beatings or insults. The security officer in charge of the detainees told them that they had nothing to do with their detention, and that another party held them.

He explained that they were released after they decided to embark on a hunger strike on Thursday, November 25.

Abuljoukh said he was held because he expressed his opinion about what he considers to be correct towards a Sudanese, civilian and democratic country whose people enjoy freedom, peace and full democracy.

Hala 96 FM silenced

Hala 96 FM radio has been off air since the morning of the El Burhan coup on November 25, 2021, by order of the military junta.

Yasir Abushamal, director of Hala 96 FM, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga on Tuesday that the director of the Radio and Television Broadcasting Authority told them that they had to speak with the army, which stopped the radio broadcasts.

Abushamal said they did have a meeting of about an hour on November 8 with an army officer "with the rank of brigadier general", who accused the radio ststion of inciting against the army and attacking its leaders. "Yet, the army is involved in the political process of the transitional period that runs the country, and all that the radio does is to transmit their statements and deal with them with negative or positive criticism."

He said that the army officer informed them at the end of the meeting that he would give them a response, and they are still waiting, and the radio is still closed by the army.

For its part, the Sudanese Journalists Network condemned the blatant aggression on media freedom and the right of expression, and affirmed its full support and full solidarity with Hala 96 FM.

In a statement yesterday, the network stressed that "the massive violence and continuing violations of on press freedom, since the military coup on November 25, have not receded - which clearly reveals that the military and their supporters are the actual rulers of the country".

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