News

May 26, 2010 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Several journalists on opposition daily tortured in prison


Reporters Without Borders today condemned as “disgraceful” the mistreatment in prison of four journalists from the banned daily Rai al-Shaab. The paper’s deputy editor, Abuzar al Amin, who was arrested on 18 May and is still in detention, has told his lawyer that he was tortured in prison. He added that three of his colleagues, Nagi Dahab, Ashraf Abdelaziz and Abu Baker Al-Sammani, all held on state security premises, also showed marks of torture. “The mistreatment inflicted on these journalists is shameful. As well as being imprisoned without reason, they have suffered gratuitous and repeated violence”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said, repeating its call for their immediate release. A photograph sent by the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) of which Reporters Without Borders has obtained a copy, shows bruising to the right ribs of Abuzar al Amin. He lost consciousness after being severely beaten on the stomach, back and limbs and after receiving electric shocks. The Sudanese authorities accused him of trying to destabilise the regime and making war on the state. His three colleagues, also arrested on 18 May, apparently suffered similar treatment. Sudanese opposition figure and owner of the newspaper, Hassan al-Turabi, who was arrested at the same time as the journalists, remains in Kober prison in the north of the capital, Khartoum. Five days after the arrest of his colleagues, on 23 May, the paper’s political editor, Altahir Ibrahim, was arrested in his turn at his home in Omdurman in the north-east of the country. He has been held since then in at a secret location belonging to state security. He has also been given electric shocks and was brutally beaten. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 18.05.2010 - Authorities urged to rescind opposition daily’s closure and free four detained journalists Reporters Without Borders condemns the closure of the Khartoum-based daily Rai al-Shaab (Opinion of the People) by the security forces on 16 May and the arrest of four of its journalists. Owned by Hassan Al-Turabi, the head of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), the newspaper has been shut down until further notice. “We fear that this marks the start of a new government campaign against press freedom in Sudan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “No charge has been brought against the four journalists, whose only crime is to work for an opposition newspaper. We are worried about their safety and their health, and we call for their immediate release. We also urge the authorities to rescind the closure.” Acting on the orders of Gen. Mohammed Atta, the head of the security and intelligence service, security forces raided Rai al-Shaab’s printing press on the morning of 16 May and seized all of the copies of the latest issue. They then raided the newspaper’s offices in the centre of Khartoum, ordered all of the staff to leave and arrested general editor Ashraf Abdelaziz, assistant chief editor Abuzar Al Amin, general director Nagi Dahab and printing manager Abu Baker Al-Sammani. The information ministry issued a statement saying the measures were taken because Rai al-Shaab had published false reports. “The newspaper printed a front-page story claiming there was a serious conflict between Sudan and Egypt,” the statement said. The front page also had a “mendacious report” about the presence in Sudan of engineers belonging to the “Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” the communiqué said. The government also objected to a report claiming that it was supporting a rebel group in Yemen. Al-Turabi, the newspaper’s owner and a leader of the Islamist opposition, was himself arrested on the eve of 15 May and is still being held.