African News

Sudan: Journalist Detained and Tortured

13 April 2007 at 18:09 | 482 views

By Our Correspondent.

The Sudanese authorities recently arrested a journalist working with Sudan Radio Service and released him five days later after being badly tortured. The journalist was detained during the coverage of recent clashes in the Sudanese capital between the Darfur former rebel group and the police.

The journalist, Nichola Dominic Mandil(photo) was in Omdurman on assignment for Sudan Radio Service to investigate the shootout earlier between members of the Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement(SLM) and police. After he and other journalists were turned away by police, he said he was arrested while waiting to catch a taxi.

He said several men, some in military uniforms and others in plain clothes, then bundled him into an unmarked car and took him to the first of a few interrogation centers.

He was later released after being detained and tortured for five days by Sudanese state security personnel.

He said he was accused of being a foreign agent in Sudan promoting American ideology. The independent Sudan radio service is funded by USAID.

"They caught me around 8 pm on Saturday and searched everything that I was carrying. They questioned me and took my ID card. They took me with them and asked me about Sudan Radio Service and EDC. From there they moved me from place to place. They blindfolded me. They moved me to places that I cannot recognize because it was night.

They did many things to me: they kicked me, beat me on my back and insulted me with all sorts of abuse. At last I found myself at a police cell in Omdurman North. They kept me in the cell for five days, from Saturday to Wednesday night when they released me at 11 pm. They took all my equipment with them and they are still with them at the moment", Mandil said.

The Sudan Radio Service said it had not yet been able to retrieve the radio equipment or Mandil’s personal cell phone from the security organs.

According to a statement by a Sudanese human rights organization, on March the 24th, police, security, and army regulars heavily armed with tanks and short-range rockets attacked the al-Muhandiseen area in Omdurman a residential area populated by civilian members of the Minawi-led Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) - the rebel group that signed the Darfur Peace Agreement with the the government last May in Abuja.

The attackers destroyed the whole area, and killed 10 SLA members and three policemen. The State forces then launched massive arrests of the SLA members in different areas of the national capital, including the SLA headquarters in Omdurman. The campaign continued all that week in and outside the national capital. The Organization maintains a list of 79 detainees.