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ANHRI condemns ongoing trial of Radio Dabanga activists and media professionals

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 2 August 2011 - ANHRI condemns the ongoing legal persecution of Sudanese activists and media professionals who work for Radio Dabanga. The plaintiff in the lawsuit against the station employees, case #1600, launched in 2010, is a member of the State Security. The station employees are accused of broadcasting information that is false and affects the reputation of the state, as well as establishing a radio station without a licence.

Abdelrahman Adam, Abdelrahman Al-Gasim, Jafaar Al-Amin Al-Sabky, Zacharia Yagoub, Kawther Abdel Haq, Khalid Ishac, and Adam Al-Nur were scheduled to appear before the Criminal Court on 3 August for the fourth time, for broadcasting reports and news on the humanitarian situation in Darfur. They are currently being tried in accordance with Articles 24, 25, 26, 53, 50 of the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Code, as well as Articles 18, 42, and 44 of the 2001 Communications Code. The penalties they face could be as severe as execution.

Radio Dabanga programmes are broadcast from Holland. On more than one occasion, the Sudanese government has tried to pressure the Dutch government to interfere with the broadcast and to place restrictions on the activists and media professionals who work for the station, in order to conceal the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur. Moreover, in November 2010, Sudanese officials stormed the station's Khartoum headquarters and destroyed some of its equipment.

"Journalistic and media freedoms in Sudan continue to deteriorate as authorities use violence and repression. Recently, journalists Fatima Ghazali and Amal Habbani were detained in connection with a 'publishing' lawsuit. More than six newspapers were closed under the pretext that some of their owners are from South Sudan - hence, they no longer have the right to issue newspapers and publications in the North because they are considered foreigners," ANHRI said.

"The humanitarian situation in Sudan is very worrisome. ANHRI urges the international community and organisations concerned with defending freedom of opinion and expression to pressure the Sudanese authorities to protect these freedoms, and to put an end to the trial of Radio Dabanga's activists and media professionals," ANHRI added.

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