Sudan's journalist union says its head detained by military

The Sudanese Journalists' Union demanded the military rulers release journalist Sadiq al-Rizaigi, or put him on trial.

    On July 11, the military announced it had foiled a coup attempt without specifying when it took place. [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
    On July 11, the military announced it had foiled a coup attempt without specifying when it took place. [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

    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.

    SOURCE: News agencies