Friday, August 22, 2008



By Lemi Stephen
Sudan Tribune

Press Release

The National Security Agents in Sudan are on the neck of the Sudan Tribune Daily Newspaper based and published in Khartoum. For a number of days now they have been confiscating copies of the daily issues. We are so worried, under threat, at a loss, and helpless in the hands of these notorious government organs.

According to the terms of agreement reached between us and the authorities concerned, the laws governing the press/media, the constitution and in respect to human rights/freedom of expression, the sovereignty of the land, liberty, democracy and the love for mother land; we feel deprived by the security agents who took the liberty of seizing our daily issues from time to time for no reason ever given.

We regret their unwarranted conduct and rough hands pushing us into difficulties and the pressure they exert upon us and against our paper by confiscating our daily issues from the publishing house or the bookshops.

The Sudanese national security agents are very unjust by doing injustice depriving us from expressing ourselves freely as justified by the constitution article 39, in that the state shall respect the freedom of press/media in a democratic society. The national security agents have been confiscating our paper from the publishing house in Khartoum before distribution or just ordering it to be stopped from publication this was with effect from 29th May, 2008.

The worst is that after confiscating the paper they take the trouble of selling themselves and the coins go to their pockets depriving us from daily income; it had been noted that they sold 3000 copies. They did so again on 9th June, 2008. And on the 5th August, 2008 they confiscated 3000 copies from the distributing agent in the publishing house before the issues were taken to the bookshops.

The security repeated seizing 3000 copies on each of the following days 11th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 20th, and 21st of August, 2008 respectively from the publishing house.

We consider this a gross violation of the freedom of press and of expression as such by the national security in seizing our daily issues a very inhuman act indeed. What they are doing is also a violation of interim national constitution of 2005 after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 9th January, 2005 which should have ruled out this barbaric behaviour.

What we see is that the agents want to incur us huge financial loses for that is why they stubbornly go on confiscating the copies and sell them a thing un-heard of. After all we are informing our readers about the 'indictment of the president, the inhuman treatment of the Darfurians, human rights abuses here and there, Abyei conflicts with the Messiriya Arabs…etc these are stories which can not longer be hidden anyone can read them in any of the local, regional or international papers; we wonder why they are so irritated by our writings.

One more thing the English language daily papers are under strict security supervision. We are being checked daily before we print it out in calque satin papers and the final screening is done in the publishing house or when issues are being distributed in bookshops where they end up confiscating copies for their own interest. Is this not a gross violation of human right injustice done to us in Sudan Tribune Daily Newspaper or else what explanation is there for mistreating us and the English language readers?

The English language press had been targeted by the national security ever since the signing of the CPA in 2005 they continue to violate the freedom of the press in Sudan. The repeated confiscation of the paper by these agents is an intended targeting of the English language press to intimidate and silence them. In spite of these violations the Sudan Tribune Daily is perusing legal channels by presenting its complains to the authorities in the Press Council and Publications which is responsible authority for receiving complains and injustice or violation done.

On the contrary the response of the Press Council and Publication was discouraging although it could have been the only authority to come to our rescue and the right place for solving our case it has turned its back on us in a letter from them dated 14th August, 2008 where they stated that in provision to press laws for 2004, those who inure losses for one reason or another should only complain after their paper is published, distributed and confiscated; that the Press Council has no right to intervene after the security had confiscated the paper.

We wonder why they over jump their steps forgetting that the 2005 constitution nullify the laws of 2004. The Press Council made it clear that, any compensation must be claimed through relevant courts of justice. Sudan Tribune Daily wants to make it known that it had incurred huge losses as a result of the illegal and gross violation of freedom of press/expression by the national security in confiscating the daily issues after publication as mentioned above.

It is worth noting that this rough campaign by the national security agents had been going on now for three years since the paper was first established. We are therefore raising our voices highly in Sudan Tribune to inform public opinion, regionally and internationally and all the media/press agencies, human rights/freedom of press activist, and all community/civil societies to stand with us in claiming our rights and the free press publication without security intervention. We remind all with conscious minds to stand against this wild campaign by the national security agencies.

We call for an end to this injustice imposed upon us. Let the doors to freedom and democracy be opened as we also would want it to be made known to us reason for the continues seizure of our daily issues (Sudan Tribune) which they had never made known

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