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Sudan's journalist union says its head detained by military

Published: July 25, 2019
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A Sudanese editor who heads the country's main journalist's union has been detained, the union said.

The Sudanese Journalists' Union called on the ruling Transitional Military Council to "immediately release" its head Sadiq al-Rizaigi, who is also editor of Al-Sayha newspaper, or that he be put on trial.

A senior journalist with Rizaigi's newspaper told AFP news agency that security forces took him away from outside the newspaper's offices.

"We do not know where he is being held or the reasons for his detention," said Awad Jad Al-Sayid, news editor of Al-Sahya.

Arrests over coup attempt

The detention of Rizaigi on Wednesday came amid the military claiming it had arrested a top general, several security officers and leaders over a foiled coup attempt announced earlier this month.

It said it had arrested General Hashim Abdel Muttalib, the head of the joint chiefs of staff, and a number of officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) along with leaders of the Islamic Movement and the National Congress Party.

On July 11, the military announced it had foiled a coup attempt without specifying when it took place.


Sudanese media also reported that among those arrested was General Bakri Hassan Saleh, a former first vice president and prime minister, and a prominent figure in the 1989 coup that brought now removed president Omar al-Bashir to power.

Ali Karty, a former foreign minister, and Zubair Ahmed Hassan, an ex-finance minister, were also arrested according to sources who spoke to Reuters News Agency.

During Bashir's three-decade rule, the press was severely curtailed, according to media activists.

NISS agents cracked down regularly on journalists or confiscated entire print-runs of newspapers for publishing articles deemed critical of al-Bashir's policies.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recorded at least 100 cases of press freedom violations this year during the protests that finally led to al-Bashir's overthrow in April.

RSF ranks Sudan 175th out of 180 countries in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

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Sudan’s military rulers said on Thursday that several officers had attempted a coup in an effort to undermine an agreement between the military and the opposition to share power for three years ahead of elections, Reuters reports. The thwarted coup involved a number of retired officers, as well as officers still in service, Jamal Omar Ibrahim, the head of the Transitional Military Council’s security committee, said on Sudanese TV. He added that 12 had been arrested and four detained in connection with the thwarted coup.

The United States on Saturday welcomed a provisional agreement forged by Sudan’s ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups to share power for three years as an “important step forward.”

Sudan’s pro-democracy movement, which drove longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir from power in April, has welcomed a power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council as a victory for their “revolution.” “Today, our revolution has won and our victory shines,” the statement said. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association has spearheaded protests calling for civilian rule.

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