Journalist detained, newspaper confiscated

New York, March 13, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the detention of Sudanese journalist Edward Terso Lado, a reporter for the English-language daily Khartoum Monitor.

Nial Bol, editor of the Khartoum Monitor, told CPJ that agents from the General Security Service took Lado into custody on Tuesday, March 11, at around noon at the newspaper’s office in the capital, Khartoum. Agents did not give a reason for Lado’s detention, but when Bol contacted authorities to inquire about his 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 have told Bol that they are holding Lado for questioning.

Bol suspects that Lado’s detention stems from a March 9 article he had written claiming that the history of Islam in Sudan was not peaceful, and that the religion destroyed some civilizations. On Sunday, March 9, the General Security Service confiscated that issue of the paper at the printer before distribution. That same afternoon, Bol and Lado were summoned to the offices of the General Security Service for questioning. According to Bol, although he appeared for questioning, Lado did not.

Bol told CPJ that the paper’s editors now 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.