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Sudan: state security prosecution interrogates pro-protests journalists who call for Al Bashir step down

The state security prosecution, on 5 February, subjected a number of journalists to criminal investigation after the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) filed cases against them for publishing leaflets supporting protests calling for President Al Bashir to step down. Journalist Ms. Shamael Al Nour who works in Al Tayyar newspaper, appeared before the prosecution after she was served summon to appear for investigation in connection with a report filed by NISS. According to Sudan tribune, investigation with the female journalist focused on the issue of leaflets she included on her Facebook page that supported the anti-regime protests and criticized the President and NISS Director because of violent response to demonstrators. According to information, journalist Ms. Shamael is facing charges of disturbance, defamation of juridical persons and dissemination of false information. After completion of investigation, the journalist was freed on bail.

The capital Khartoum and many other Sudanese cities witnessed large peaceful protests organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association since September 2018, calling for the step down of President Al Bashir. Sudan tribune website reported that the prosecution is preparing to summon a long list of journalists and social media activists inside Sudan, and is determined to seek the help of the Interpol to arrest journalist outside the country based on reports filed under provisions of the criminal code. NISS has prohibited daily newspapers from covering news of demonstrations and protests, and does not hesitate to disrupt distribution of the newspapers which contravene its directives. On Tuesday, NISS prevented the printing of Al Tayyar and Al Jareeda newspapers which are already suffering from repeated intervention of security censors. According to the website, on 24 January, the State Minister for Information and Communications, Mamoon Hassan Ibrahim, said competent authorities have embarked upon legal measures through the Interpol and local apparatuses to prosecute those spreading false information and news on the social media.

The state security last month filed a report No. 11/2019 against 38 journalists, under articles 66, 69 and 77 of the criminal code and Article 17 of the cybercrime law, charging them of public disturbance, publication of false news, undermining public peace and security and defamation of national and juristic persons. Those charged included journalists and activists in the electronic space, of them 28 reside outside Sudan, and red notices (warrants of arrest (have been issued against them. The security authorities last month revoked licenses of correspondents of Al Jazreeda and Al Arabiya TVs and the Turkish News Agency (Anadolu( , saying their work has been assessed and consequently a decision was taken to suspend them.

Sources; Sudantribune , Alrakoba