Journalist Abuzar Al-Amin, from Rai Al Shaab newspaper holds a placard reading 'Freedom of Expression... constitutional right' ©Private
Abuzar Al Amin, former deputy editor-in-chief of Rai Al Shaab, a Sudanese newspaper affiliated with the opposition Popular Congress Party, was arrested in May 2010. Rai Al Shaab’s office was raided and shut down by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) the following day. He was convicted and sentenced to five year’s imprisonment on 14 July 2010 under articles 50 and 66 of the 1991 Criminal Act, for “undermining the Constitution” and “publishing false news” in relation to articles he wrote that were considered critical of the government. One article was an opinion piece, which claimed that the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir did not enjoy wide support among the population. In May 2011, the Supreme Court reduced his sentence to one year and his release was marked for 3 July. The NISS brought a further two charges against him two weeks prior to his release date.
Abuzar Al Amin was finally released on bail on 22 August 2011. However, the charges against him have not been dropped and he has not been brought before a court. As a result, he is currently limited in his capacity to work due to the risk of re-arrest. His newspaper Rai Al Shaab had been reopened in October 2011 but was shut down again on 2 January 2012.
Abuzar Al Amin was considered a prisoner of conscience at the time of his detention, during which he was held incommunicado and reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated by the NISS.
The right to freedom of expression has long been curtailed in Sudan. In the last two years, the government’s intolerance to dissent intensified, and with it, the repression of all vocal critics of the ruling party. Journalists facing criminal charges like Abuzar Al Amin constantly fear arrest and intimidation.
Amnesty International is calling for all charges against Abuzar Al Amin to be dropped, including the charges brought against him in July 2011, which are believed to be politically motivated. Join us in demanding an end to these violations.
Send an email to the Minister of Justice in Sudan, Mohammed Bushara Dusa, urging him to drop all charges against Abuzar Al Amin.