Sudanese authorities released a Reuters journalist and an Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter on Monday after they were detained while covering protests in Khartoum on Wednesday last week.
The journalists were detained while covering protests and clashes with security forces which broke out all over Sudan early this month following Khartoum’s imposing tough economic measures in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund.
The journalists were not harmed during their detention, at least according to initial reports. Reuters only managed to re-establish contact with its Sudanese reporter, Khalid Abdelaziz, on Monday evening after losing communication with him before his arrest. Abdelaziz says he was not maltreated by his captors. He was released together with the AFP reporter and another local journalist.
A Reuters spokesperson said: “We are extremely relieved that Reuters reporter Khalid Abdelaziz has been released from detention in Khartoum.”
AFP published a story also confirming the release of its reporter. The AFP reporter, Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, 51, has worked for AFP in Khartoum for almost a decade. He echoed the Reuters journalist’s statement that they were treated well while in detention.
No charges were filed against the journalists who were detained in Khartoum’s Kobar prison.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said fifteen journalists were detained while covering protests in Khartoum and Omdurman. Most of the other journalists from the batch were released within hours after they were detained.
During detention, the journalists were not given the chance to contact their families and employers.
Sudanese authorities gave no explanation for the journalists’ detention, prompting global media rights groups to condemn the detentions. Washington also joined the expressions of disapproval for jailing the journalists. Stae Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “We condemn the harassment, arbitrary detention and attacks on journalists in Sudan who are doing their jobs and exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression.”
Sporadic protests broke out this month in Sudan after prices of food, especially bread, soared following an increase in the price of flour due to a shortage of wheat.
In spite of the global condemnation from international media groups and watchdogs, along with Washington, Sudan insisted that the country “enjoyed the freedom of the press.”