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Journalists and human rights defenders repeatedly summoned to national security services offices

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is a 6 November 2007 press release:

Sudan: ARTICLE 19 condemns the harassment of human rights defenders and journalists and calls for an immediate stop to the harassment

ARTICLE 19 condemns the blatant and unjustified harassment of Journalists and Human rights activists, Faisal Elbagir, Lemiaa el-Jaily and Sabah Mohammad Adam, by the government security forces.

On Sunday 4 November, the three journalists were summoned to the offices of the National Security Services (NSS) in Khartoum, Sudan. The three were summoned again on Monday 5 November and were held for six hours without explanation. They have been summoned once again today.

ARTICLE 19 Executive Director Dr. Agnès Callamard said "we are appalled by the harassment of our friends and colleagues. The repeated summonses and short detentions act as warnings to the Sudanese media and human rights community against speaking out, and are clearly aimed at inspiring fears. The chilling effect of such practices on freedom of expression and freedom of the press is all too evident. ARTICLE 19 lends its full support and solidarity to our friends in Khartoum. We call on the Sudanese security forces to cease the unswerving harassment of human rights defenders and journalists and the draconian censorship of the media."

Last week, Faizal Elbagir published an editorial on ARTICLE 19's blog, the Khartoum Advocacy Centre, launched last week as part of the implementation of its project "Promoting freedom of expression and civil society involvement in developing democratic Media legislation in Sudan". Faizal Elbagir's editorial was meant to be published in August in Al-Midan newspaper. However, the 15,000 copies of the issue containing the editorial were seized. The article 'the Obedient Deems it Extenuating' was critical of the ongoing abuses by the Sudanese national government on freedom of expression, and towards the media in Sudan.

Lemiaa el-Jaily and Faisal Elbagir are both journalists and work for the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED), an ARTICLE 19 partner in the project "Promoting freedom of expression and civil society involvement in developing democratic Media legislation in Sudan". Faisal Elbagir, also a member of the Sudanese Organisation against Torture (SOAT) and reporter for Reporters without Borders (RSF), has previously been harassed and unjustly imprisoned by Sudanese authorities. Sabah Mohammed Adam is a journalist for al-Ayyam, a daily newspaper frequently subject to censorship.

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