March 15, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) seized copies of Al-Sudani newspaper in the early hours of Tuesday from the printing house without giving reasons.
- Members of Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) hold banners outside the National Council for Press and Publication (NCPP) premises in Khartoum in protest against repeated seizure of newspapers, on May 26, 2015 (ST photo)
Journalists working for Al-Sudani toldSudan Tribune that NISS seized print runs of the newspaper without giving reasons, saying they can’t speculate on the likely reasons behind the move.
According to an administrative officer at Al-Sudani, the financial losses incurred by the newspaper due to the confiscation amounts to 70,000 pounds (SDG) ($5,800).
He pointed that NISS seized 20,000 copies of the newspaper, saying the total sales of the confiscated copies amounts to 40,000 pounds (SDG) while the paid advertisements worth 30,000 pounds (SDG).
The NISS routinely confiscates newspapers either to prevent circulation of certain stories or to punish them retroactively on previous issues.
In February 2015, NISS seized entire print runs of 14 newspapers in one day without stating the reasons for its decision.
Journalists say that NISS uses seizures of print copies of newspapers, not only to censor the media but also to weaken them economically.
SAUDI AUTHORITIES RELEASES SUDANESE BLOGGER
Meanwhile, the Sudanese non-governmental Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) network said the Saudi authorities released the Sudanese blogger Walid al-Hussein after 235 days in arbitrary detention.
Al-Hussein, who runs the Sudanese opposition website Al-Rakooba, was taken by security agents on July 23 rd 2015 from his home in the city of al-Khobar in Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, Al-Rakooba website said that al-Hussein has been released and returned to his home on Sunday night but didn’t elaborate on the issue.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Monday, JHR said that Al-Hussein was released by the Saudi authorities unconditionally, pointing he hasn’t been asked to leave the country.
Reliable sources told JHR that the Saudi authorities has neither filed any charges against al-Hussein nor brought him before trial.
According to JHR, NISS sought to arrest al-Hussein for running the Al-Rakooba website which is designated by the government as an opposition website.
Al-Rakoba started off in 2005 as a discussion forum but has eventually transformed into a news website that carries stories and op-eds that are fiercely critical of the Sudanese government.
The website has attracted wide readership even inside Sudan despite intermittent government moves to block it.
There were fears that al-Hussein could be subjected to torture or extradited to Sudan.
In 2005, the interior ministers of Saudi Arabia and Sudan signed a security pact in Khartoum which included clauses related to preventing any activities by residents or citizens on their territories that are hostile to the government of the other side.
Saudi Arabia is generally very sensitive to any foreign political activities on its territory.
In 2011, the Saudi government issued a decree banning any events of political nature without prior permission and warned of consequences to foreign nationals for violating this order which included deportation.