Sudanese security forces are seen in Khartoum on October 26, 2021. Military authorities have held at least three journalists since early April. (AP/Marwan Ali)

Sudanese military holding at least 3 journalists since early April

New York, May 4, 2022 – Sudanese military authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all journalists in custody and ensure that members of the press can work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.

On April 5, military intelligence officers arrested reporter Mohamed Sulaiman al-Obied and photographers Mutaz al-Naeem Adam and Mohamed al-Fatih at a checkpoint in the city of Omdurman, according to the journalists’ lawyer Rifaat Makawi and their friend Hajooj Kuka, both of whom spoke with CPJ via messaging app, and statements by the International Press Association of East Africa and the local independent rights group Civic Lab.

The journalists remained in detention as of Wednesday, May 4, and authorities have not disclosed the reason for their arrests or any charges against them, according to Makawi and Kuka. Those sources said they are being held in Soba Prison in Khartoum, the capital, where they have been denied access to their lawyers and families.

“Sudanese authorities must immediately and unconditionally release reporter Mohamed Sulaiman al-Obied and photographers Mutaz al-Naeem Adam and Mohamed al-Fatih, and refrain from detaining journalists without charge,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “The Sudanese military should ensure that members of the media can freely cover events of national interest, including protests, without fear of detention.”

Al-Obied, also known as Yung, works as a freelance reporter and has contributed to the BBC and the British broadcaster Channel 4, the broadcasters said in an email, noting that he has covered protests in the country since its late-2021 coup.

Kuka told CPJ that Adam (also known as Ezzo) and al-Fatih (also known as Jalta) both contributed photos of the protests to local news websites, but was unable to immediately provide samples of their work.

CPJ emailed the Sudanese military for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Since the military seized power and dissolved the country’s civilian government on October 25, 2021, attacks on the press have escalated; several journalists were arrested and assaulted while covering anti-coup protests, and news organizations have been raided by authorities.