Madeeha Abdallah, editor-in-chief of El Midan newspaper at her office in Khartoum, June 2013 (monitor.co.ug)
The editor-in-chief of El Midan newspaper, issued by the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), was summoned by the Sudan state security in Khartoum on Wednesday.
Madeeha Abdallah had to wait for hours at the office of the security’s prosecutor, before she was interrogated. She was released on bail on Wednesday evening.
The security apparatus had filed a complaint against the newspaper, after it had published an interview on 28 December, with Abdelaziz El Hilu, Military Chief of Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
In the interview, El Hilu had expressed SPLM-N’s solidarity with the protesters in Lagawa, West Kordofan state. Residents of Lagawa embarked on a sit-in mid November last year, in protest against the overall lack of basic services, such as clean drinking water, electricity, roads, health care, and education, in the state.
In response to the publication, as it now appeared, security officers confiscated El Midan’s print-runs from 1 until 11 January. They refrained from explaining the reason at the time.
The SCP stated that it will continue publishing the newspaper “in spite of all the obstacles and barriers”.
Other journalists questioned
On Monday morning, the prosecution of the National Press and Publications Office summoned five journalists to its office in Khartoum III, after the Zakat (Islamic alms) Chamber had filed a complaint against them, under Article 159 of the Criminal Code concerning defamation.
The prosecutor questioned Omar Sika of El Jareeda newspaper, Salma Adam of El Khartoum, Musira Shebeili of Akhir Lahza, Ali El Beseiri of El Intibaha, and Abdelrahman Seifeldin Aidaroos, working for El Dar daily, for about an hour about a news item published in their newspapers on 8 December 2014.
During the past two months, agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated more than 27 print-runs of various newspapers in Khartoum.
“The purpose of confiscating the print-runs is to exhaust the newspapers financially,” the editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper commented to Dabanga in July 2014. “It is in fact a direct and methodical liquidation, meant to kill the independent press.”
According to the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, monitored by Reporters Without Borders, Sudan rates within the bottom 10 of the 180 countries surveyed.