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Three employees of opposition weekly freed, three others still held without charge

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved that three employees of the opposition weekly "Al-Midan", who had been arrested on 2 February 2011, were released on 12 February. But it is very concerned about the three who are still being held. The detainees have been beaten and subjected to torture, including electric shocks and sleep deprivation.

They were arrested because of the coverage that "Al-Midan", the Sudanese Communist Party's mouthpiece, gave to street protests on 30 January.

"The release of three 'Al-Midan' employees after being held for 10 days proves just one thing, that they have not been charged and that there is nothing the authorities can officially reproach them for," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said.

"We call for the immediate release of all the 'Al-Midan' employees and all the other journalists detained in Sudan and we strongly condemn the mistreatment, torture and other forms of degrading treatment that detainees undergo in Sudan's prisons."

The three employees released on 12 February were Kamal Karar (an assistant to the editor), Ibrahim Mirghani (the head of the newspaper's political section) and Moawya Abu-Hashim (a driver). The three still held are graphic designer Khalid Tawfig, trainee journalist Mohamed Aldirderi and receptionist Mohamed Rahama.

Police and security agents used force on 13 February to break up a peaceful demonstration by journalists in solidarity with their "Al-Midan" colleagues, arresting several news photographers after deleting their photos.

Julliard added: "The Sudanese security forces are using imprisonment as a means to intimidate journalists. Media freedom, freedom of expression and association, and the right to demonstrate peacefully are all being trampled on by this government although they are guaranteed by the 2005 constitution."

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