SUDAN


Middle East and North Africa cases 2003: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press




MARCH 9, 2003

Khartoum Monitor
CENSORED
Nhial Bol, Khartoum Monitor
Edward Lado Terso, Khartoum Monitor
HARASSED

Sudan's General Security Service (GSS) confiscated the March 9 issue of the Khartoum Monitor at its printer before distribution and summoned the paper's editor, Bol, and reporter Lado to GSS offices for questioning. According to Bol, he went to the offices for questioning but Lado did not. Two days later, Lado was detained, apparently in connection with the March 9 issue, Bol told CPJ. Bol suspects that the paper's confiscation and Lado's detention stem from a March 9 article he wrote claiming that the history of Islam in Sudan is not peaceful, and that the religion destroyed some civilizations.

According to Bol, Khartoum Monitor editors regularly receive directives from security agents not to write about certain topics, including the country's civil war, areas where conflict is occurring, the current talks in Kenya between the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, and the opposition Popular National Congress.


MARCH 11, 2003

Edward Lado Terso, Khartoum Monitor
LEGAL ACTION, CENSORED

Lado, a reporter for the English-language daily Khartoum Monitor, was detained by agents from the General Security Service (GSS). Khartoum Monitor Editor Nhial Bol told CPJ that the agents took Lado into custody at around 12 p.m. at the newspaper's offices in the capita, Khartoum. Agents did not give a reason for Lado's detention, but when Bol contacted authorities to inquire about his employee's status, they told him that the detention was unrelated to Lado's work at the Monitor.

Bol has not been notified of Lado's whereabouts or of any charges against him, though authorities told Bol that they were holding Lado for questioning. Bol suspects that Lado's detention stems from a March 9 article he wrote claiming that the history of Islam in Sudan is not peaceful, and that the religion destroyed some civilizations. That day, the GSS confiscated that issue of the paper at the printer before distribution. The same afternoon, Bol and Lado were summoned to the GSS offices for questioning. According to Bol, although he appeared for questioning, Lado did not.

Bol told CPJ that the paper's editors regularly receive directives from security agents not to write about certain topics, including the civil war, areas where conflict is occurring, the current talks in Kenya between the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, and the opposition Popular National Congress.


MAY 4, 2003

Yousef al-Bashir Moussa, Al-Sahafa
IMPRISONED

Noureddin Madani, editor of the daily Al-Sahafa, told CPJ that Moussa, the newspaper's correspondent in the city of Nyala (about 800 miles southwest of the capital, Khartoum), was arrested a few days after he reported that the Sudanese president was considering firing the governors of the three states of Darfur, a region in western Sudan.

Darfur has been the scene of recent fighting between government and rebel forces, which have been in a civil war for 20 years. The Sudanese government is wary of journalists reporting on the conflict, which pits the Muslim-dominated government of the north against Christian and animist rebels in the south. Moussa has not been officially charged but has remained in detention since his arrest.


MAY 9, 2003

Khartoum Monitor
LEGAL ACTION, CENSORED
Nhial Bol, Khartoum Monitor
HARASSED

A Khartoum court suspended the English-language daily Khartoum Monitor, according to Bol, the editor. Initially, a state prosecutor charged the paper with "inciting hatred" for an article that allegedly misquoted the Koran. The court fined it 1 million Sudanese pounds (about US$400).

During the proceedings, Bol said, the judge produced a document saying that the paper had not paid a 15 million pound (US$7,000) fine stemming from a January 2002 court decision and ordered the paper closed. But according to Bol, an appeals court had already overturned the January 2002 fine.

Bol, who spent that night in prison because he could not pay the 1 million pound fine, returned the next day to the newspaper's offices to find security agents there. They told him that the Khartoum Monitor could not continue publishing. Bol told CPJ that he received a letter on May 13 from the National Press Council notifying him that the paper was closed for "misquoting the Holy Koran." He said he will appeal the ruling.