Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that human rights activist and Radio Dabanga contributor Abdelrahman Adam has been freed after more than a year in detention and all charges have been dropped. He had been facing a possible life sentence on charges of spying and “plotting against the state.”
According to the Dutch NGO Free Press Unlimited, these charges were dropped on 4 December but he was still facing a possible three-year sentence on lesser charges of “spreading lies” and “endangering public security and order.”
The lesser charges were finally also dropped on 13 December on the justice ministry’s orders.
29.08.2011 - Call for release of all imprisoned journalists in wake of president’s announcement
Reporters Without Borders welcomes President Omar Al-Bashir’s announcement during a meeting with journalists on 27 August that he intends to free all the journalists imprisoned in Sudan, but it calls for this decision to also include media workers and for it to be carried out without delay.
The announcement was followed yesterday by the release of Gafar Alsabki Ibrahim, a journalist with the Arabic-language daily Al-Sahafa, who had been detained since 3 November 2010. But Abdelrahman Adam, a contributor to Radio Dabanga held since 30 October 2010, was not freed. Three other persons who are accused of working for this station - which they deny - are also detained.
“Gafar Alsabki’s release is obviously good news but the authorities must also free Radio Dabanga’s contributor and must go further by dropping all the charges against him,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“We should also not forget that the past few weeks have been marked by confiscations of newspapers and a return to prior censorship, measures that violate media freedom. If Sudan wants to be seen as a country that respects freedom of expression, it really must put a stop to such practices.”
Broadcasting on the short wave from the Netherlands, Radio Dabanga is the only station that specializes in covering the situation in Darfur. As it is not legally recognized by the Sudanese authorities, its contributor in Sudan lack a press card and official recognition of his status as a journalist.
Adam and the three other detainees who deny being Radio Dabanga employees are accused of divulging state secrets, undermining the constitutional system, calling for resistance and inciting sedition under articles 24, 25, 26, 53 and 50 of the 1991 criminal code and articles 18, 42 and 44 of the 2001 communications law. The article 50 violation carries the death penalty.