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Sudan / Call for an end to harassment of detained journalist Faisal Mohammed Salih

By Reporters without Borders (RSF)
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PARIS, France, May 10, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The freelance journalist and human rights activist Faisal Mohamed Salih was arrested arbitrarily today in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The day before, he was held for eight hours at the office of the security forces where he was given nothing to eat or drink.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged at the violence and pressure to which the journalist, a former editor of the newspaper Al-Adwa, has been subjected for almost two weeks.

“We ask the Sudanese authorities to call a halt to such cruel intimidation, bordering on physical and psychological torture,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The aim of these repeated detentions is to push him to his limit and at the same time to prevent him from doing his job. We call for Faisal Mohamed Salih's immediate and unconditional release.”

On 25 April, Salih was summoned to the office of the National Intelligence and Security Services in Khartoum where he was questioned by officers for several hours about critical comments he made about President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in an interview with Al-Jazeera on 19 April.

The next day, he was once again called the NISS office and subsequently spent seven hours a day there every day, until his arrest, without being questioned and with no legal proceedings or judicial investigation being undertaken against him.

“The constant harassment to which he has been subjected is further proof of the repressive attitude towards the press on the part of the Khartoum government, whose intention is to silence all dissident voices,” the press freedom organization added.

On 22 and 24 April and 3 May, the intelligence service seized all copies of the opposition newspaper Al-Midan as soon as it had completed its print run. No clear reason was given.

Besides preventing Sudanese citizens from being informed, this method of censorship causes severe financial losses for the media organizations concerned, which face a stark choice of self-censorship or closure.