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Intelligence agency arrests leading Sudanese journalist

The reason for Al-Hayat correspondent Al-Nur Ahmad Al-Nur’s detention is not known

This article was originally published on rsf.org on 24 October 2014.

Al-Nur Ahmad Al-Nur, a leading Sudanese journalist who is the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat's Sudan correspondent, was arrested by members of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Khartoum yesterday evening for reasons that are still unknown.

Al-Nur, who is also a columnist for the Sudanese daily Al-Tigheer, was arrested while on his way to his office and was initially taken to NISS headquarters. He was then transferred to Kober prison, from where he was able to send his brother a text saying he had been arrested. There has been no word from him since then.

“While we do not yet know the reason for Al-Nur's detention, we do know that he had been in the government's sights for several months because of his reporting,” Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles said.

“The arrest of one of the country's leading journalists is very worrying for freedom of information in Sudan. We demand respect for Al-Nur's right to benefit from the principles of international law that Sudan has accepted. This includes notifying his family of the reason for his arrest. Failing that, he must be released.”

Al-Nur is an unusually outspoken journalist in a country where censorship and self-censorship reign. In past interviews for the Doha Centre for Media Freedom and the newspaper The Niles, he accused the Sudanese authorities of cracking down on the national media.

The NISS had him suspended as editor of the independent daily Al-Sahafa in April 2013 for resisting censorship.

His arrest comes just weeks after the NISS arbitrarily detained two journalists, Abdelrahman Alaagib and Eisa Aizain, for nine days and then released them without giving any explanation for its actions.

Sudan is ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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