Letters   |   Sudan

Sudanese Forces Arrest Muhammad Abdel Sid, Correspondent for the London-based Daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat

April 30, 1999

His Excellency Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
c/o His Excellency Ambassador Mahdi Ibrahim Muhammad
Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20006



Your Excellency,

TThe Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nongovernmental organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is deeply concerned over the recent arrests of three journalists in Sudan.

On or about April 14, Sudanese security forces arrested Muhammad Abdel Sid, a correspondent for the London-based daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Reports published in the Sudanese press have suggested that Abdel Sid was arrested for allegedly "spying" on behalf of a foreign country. However, Sudanese authorities have yet to publicly state the reason for his arrest.

In addition to Abdel Sid, CPJ has learned that two other reporters-Maha Hassan Ali, editor of the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), and Abdel Qader Hafez, a correspondent for the Saudi Arabian daily Al-Jazeera-were arrested at their homes on or about April 18. As with Abdel Sid, the charges against both Ali and Hafez and their whereabouts remain unknown.

We fear that the arrests of Muhammad Abdel Sid, Maha Hassan Ali, and Abdel Qader Hafez result from their work as journalists, in violation of international standards for a free press. The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the Sudanese government to publicly announce the formal charges against the journalists, and to guarantee their right to due process of law, specifically their access to legal counsel. We also call for their immediate and unconditional release, unless it can be shown that they have committed a criminal offense recognizable under international law.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to a reply at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director






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His Excellency Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
c/o His Excellency Ambassador Mahdi Ibrahim Muhammad
Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20006

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