Sudan security forces close newspaper

2012-01-13 11:06

Sudanese security forces shut down one of the country’s oldest newspapers today, its editor said, in the latest sign of a crackdown on media in the African country.

Government agents took over the offices of the daily Alwan in the capital Khartoum and told staff that it would be closed indefinitely, editor Hussein Khogali said.

“I got a phone call half an hour ago from an official in the security forces to inform me about a decision to close the paper, halt publication and seize its assets,” he said. “Now security agents occupy the building,” he said.

“They didn’t give any reason for the closure.”

Sudanese journalists say they are facing increasing levels of harassment from security services if they criticise the government in their articles or cover sensitive issues. This includes the economic crisis that has hit the country since its south seceded in July.

Sudan’s security services could not be immediately reached for comment today.

Alwan is seen as close to the country’s Islamist movement.

Earlier this month, security forces closed the al-Rai al-Shaab newspaper run by the opposition Popular Congress Party, led by prominent Islamist Hassan al-Turabi.

Security forces have confiscated entire editions of independent newspapers over recent months. In July, two female reporters were each sentenced to one month in prison for writing about an alleged rape case.

The day before South Sudan split away as an independent country in July, Khartoum suspended six newspapers because southerners were among their publishers or owners. 

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