Laws as a means of restricting freedom of expression in Sudan

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The journalist Mahfouz Bushra Abdel-Rahman was tried today January 20, 2015 at of the Intellectual Property Court in Khartoum.

Mahfouz is accused by NISS in the PN (8336/2013), on charges under Articles (66) of the Criminal Code (publishing false news), and (26) of the Press and Publications Law (journalist duties).

The court set a hearing on Monday 9th of February 2015.

Mahfouz accused on background of publishing an article (Grimes of Africa) on the Sudanese ‘al-Yoam al-Tali’ “Next day” Newspaper July 15, 2013 which led to the confiscation of the issue of July 17, 2013 and the newspaper was closed indefinitely whereas Chief Editor was referred to Press and Publications Attorney.

On Thursday January 22, 2015, for the second time, a trial of the Nubian activist Rashid Sheikh ad-Din Abash (34), (Chairman of the Youth Committee against ‘Dal’ and ‘Kajbar’ dams) takes place at Khartoum Criminal Court.

Rashid faces charges under articles 21, 63 and 69 of the Sudanese Criminal Act of 1991 and Article 15 of the Artistic and Literary Works Act of 2001.

Rashid was arrested by NISS among tenth of activists on backgrounds of the printing posters glorifying the memory of September 2013 martyrs, where he was sentenced to gel for a period of 77 days. The worst is that he was prevented from opening his printing house since September 23, 2014.

The worst violations are those that are justified by laws and regulations. Most of Sudan’s laws have been modified to cover and justify further abuses such as the National Security Act and the Public Order Act and even some of the of the Interim Constitution provisions that inconsistent with fundamental human rights.

We call on all human rights organizations to come together and coordinate in order to change these laws. We call on the government of Sudan to stop using laws to restrict freedom of expression and to commit more human right violations.

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