Sudan issues arrest warrants against 38 reporters amid crackdown - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sudan issues arrest warrants against 38 reporters amid crackdown

Sudan’s State Security Prosecution has issued arrest warrants for 38 journalists and activists on charges of “incitement” and spreading “false news”, local media reported.

According to broadcaster Sudania 24, the state prosecutor’s office issued the warrants under articles 66, 69 and 77 of the Criminal Code and Article 17 of the Cybercrime Act.

The channel pointed out that the legal articles are related to “incitement, public disturbance, dissemination of false news, disturbing peace and public tranquillity, and distorting the reputation of natural and corporate figures”.

Activists and journalists inside and outside Sudan rely on social networking sites to spread news of the protests in the country by broadcasting pictures and videos of demonstrations.

Those indicted were journalists and electronic activists, including 28 residing outside Sudan. Arrest warrants were issued against them, according to Sudania 24.

‘Sudan is not the same’
The state prosecutor’s order comes as Sudan marks one month since protests against the deterioration of living conditions first began on December 19. The rallies expanded to demand the overthrow of the government of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been ruling for nearly 30 years.

The country’s economic crisis is driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.

According to Sudanese political analyst Osman Merghani, this “movement will be successful in changing the regime.”

“This can happen through a new political party taking over, or the ruling party side-stepping Bashir and bringing someone in his place,” he told Al Jazeera.

“One thing we can be sure of is that Sudan is not the same Sudan post-December 19,” he added.

Speaking from Khartoum, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Hiba Morgan said this has been the “longest wave of anti-government protests since Sudan gained independence in 1956.”

It is also “the biggest challenge” to Bashir, who has remained “very defiant”, she continued.

“People are saying that this wave will not end until he steps down, something he said he’s not going to do until elections come next year,” Morgan said.

However, the president has held several emergency meetings with his cabinet and ruling party, which Morgan said shows just how concerned the government is regarding the ongoing protests.

Arrests and deaths
On Friday, protests were renewed in a number of districts in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The Sudan Doctors’ Committee (SDC) announced the death of a demonstrator in the district of Burri, east of Khartoum, from his wounds, raising the death toll to three from Thursday and Friday’s demonstrations.

According to government statistics, 25 people have been killed, but international rights organisations say the death toll is higher than 40, while at least 1,000 people have been arrested.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that he was “very worried” about the situation in Sudan.

“We strongly encourage the government to be very attentive to the respect of human rights,” he told reporters in New York.

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