RSF calls for journalist Amal Habani’s immediate release
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely worried about Amal Habani, an award-winning Sudanese journalist held since her arrest by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum on 16 January, and calls for her immediate release.
A reporter for the Al-Taghyir news website, Habani has been detained arbitrarily for more than two weeks in one of the NISS cells in a women’s prison in Omdurman, a city just to the northwest of Khartoum. No formal charge has been brought against her.
She has still not been allowed access to a lawyer, although six human rights lawyers filed a constitutional appeal on 29 January, describing her arrest and detention as illegal. Members of her family have been able to see her but they have not been able to ask her any questions about the state of her health, and they do not know if she has been given the medicine she needs for her high blood pressure.
Habani, who was awarded an Amnesty International prize for her human rights reporting in Sudan, was arrested by NISS agents on 16 January while covering a protest in Khartoum against an increase in the prize of bread.
According to the information obtained by RSF, they hit her with steel and electric rods at the time of her arrest, causing her to suffer palpitations and breathing problems, and to lose consciousness.
“We demand the immediate release of Amal Habani, who has been mistreated and whose detention is completely arbitrary,” RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles said. “We are very concerned and we fear that her already fragile health could get much worse.”
Habani was one of 15 journalists who were arrested on 16 and 17 January while covering protest marches in Khartoum and Omdurman. All the others have been released.
Sudan remains near the bottom of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, in which it is currently ranked 174th out of 180 countries.