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Opposition paper closed; journalists arrested

The Sudanese government is crippling opposition journalists and critics.
The Sudanese government is crippling opposition journalists and critics.


Sudanese authorities stormed the printing press of an opposition newspaper, confiscated copies of its 16 May issue, stopped the printing, and then arrested three of its journalists after raiding the newspaper's offices, report the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Violations against opposition political parties also took place during presidential and parliamentary elections in April, report the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).

Deputy editor Abu Zar al-Amin and two reporters, Ashraf Abdel Aziz and Dahab Ibrahim, from the daily "Rai al-Shaab", are being held without charge. According to CPJ, the raid came after the paper published a report on 14 May alleging that Iran has built a weapons factory in the country to supply insurgents in Africa and the Middle East.

Journalists, newspapers and government critics are routinely attacked, says ANHRI. Authorities recently arrested Hassan Turabi, chairman of the Congress opposition party.

Highlighting Sudan at the African Commission of Human and People's Rights last week, CIHRS condemns the violence against opposition members, intimidation of electoral observers, and threats against voters in certain areas during the recent elections.

International Media Support (IMS) coordinated media monitoring during the elections with five national and international partners, including ANHRI, who make up the Sudan Media and Elections Consortium (SMEC) in support of free and professional media in Sudan.

Meanwhile, prominent journalist and opposition party member Haj Warraq wrote an article last month urging a boycott of the elections because of vote rigging and strongly criticised President Omar al-Bashir, accused of committing war crimes, report ANHRI and CPJ. Warraq has been charged with "waging war against the state." Editor Fayez Al Sheikh Al Saleek of the "Agras Al Horya" newspaper that published the piece on 6 April has been accused of "humiliating the state and publishing false news." Both journalists are facing fines and imprisonment.

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