Cairo, June 21, 2012--At least three journalists have been briefly detained and interrogated by Sudanese authorities since Tuesday, according to news reports. The journalists were covering recent protests against rising fuel prices in Khartoum, the reports said.
"Sudanese authorities must stop harassing journalists who are simply doing their job," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney from New York. "Journalists should be allowed to carry out their work freely without the threat of arrest."
Authorities arrested Salma el-Wardany, an Egyptian business reporter for Bloomberg and co-founder of the Egyptian daily news website Aharm Online, and Maha el-Senuss, a Sudanese blogger and contributor to citizen media website Global Voices Online, on Thursday morning as they covered a protest in front of Khartoum University, according to news reports. The journalists were taken to the office of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), the reports said.
El-Wardany was released after about five hours, and el-Senuss shortly before that, news reports said. Authorities have since kept el-Wardany under house arrest and sent her press card to the ministry of information to rule on her possible deportation, according to news reports.
On Tuesday, Sudanese authorities detained Simon Martelli, a British reporter for Agence-France Presse, for 12 hours without charge, according to news reports. Martelli was also covering the protests in front of Khartoum University, news reports said. On Wednesday el-Wardany reported Martelli's release for Bloomberg, the reports said.
CPJ has documented a range of anti-press attacks in Sudan over the past several months with authorities routinely censoring publications, suspending newspapers, and harassing critical journalists.