Sudan ends ban on newspaper but seizes others

Court overturns two-year shutdown of Al-Tayar but government orders lead to confiscation of six other titles.

The Journalists for Human Rights organisation says President Bashir's government seized six newspapers [Reuters]

A Sudanese court has overturned an order by state security agents which has stopped the presses at a prominent daily newspaper for almost two years.

However, the ruling came as a journalists’ rights group claimed the National Intelligence and Security Service seized the press runs of three other newspapers after confiscating another three titles earlier in the week.

Osman Mirghani, chief editor of Al-Tayar, hailed the decision issued by the Constitutional Court on Wednesday as a victory for Sudanese press freedom.

“They decided that the ban on our newspaper is illegal and they cancelled the security decision, giving us permission to resume publishing,” Mirghani told AFP news agency.

“We will start publishing again soon.”

The security service had ordered Al-Tayar shut indefinitely on June 11, 2012.

“I think this decision is a victory for media freedom, and judicial freedom. It’s the first time the Constitutional Court cancelled a security service decision about a newspaper,” Mirghani said.

The Journalists for Human Rights organisation said three newspapers including the English-language The Citizen had been seized, after the confiscation of three other titles earlier in the week.

The Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, in January appealed for a political and economic “renaissance” in the country ravaged by armed insurrection, poverty and political turmoil.

“The freedom of people has to be respected,” Bashir said. Sudan ranks near the bottom of international indexes of corruption, human development and press freedom.

Source: AFP