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Sudan authorities issue arrest warrants for 38 journalists, activists for fueling riots

Protests about Sudan’s economic problems began in December but has since morphed into anger at President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule. (FILE PHOTO)

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s state prosecution has issued arrest warrants for 38 journalists and activists on charges of “incitement” and spreading “false news” that’s allegedly stirring or fuelling anger in the country with several demonstrations.

Those indicted according to state broadcaster Sudania 24 were electronic activists, including 28 residing outside Sudan.

Protests about Sudan’s economic problems began in December but has since morphed into anger at President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.

“Sudan’s security forces must stop their ongoing deadly onslaught on protesters and medical personnel,” Amnesty International said following the death of a doctor, a man, and a child from gunshot wounds inflicted during the 17 January protests in Khartoum’s Burri district.

The organization also received reports of further raids of medical facilities by security personnel, who fired teargas inside hospitals and assaulted doctors.

“It is an outrage that Sudanese security forces continue to use lethal force on protestors and key service providers like doctors, killing people in an unbridled spree that is even affecting children, said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The Sudanese authorities must immediately take charge of the security forces and ensure they stop using lethal force against protestors. They must also bring to an immediate end the continued onslaught against medical facilities and personnel, injured protestors and other people seeking treatment in hospitals, which constitutes violations of the rights to health and personal integrity.”

She warned that Sudanese authorities must immediately take charge of the security forces and ensure they stop using lethal force against protestors

The organization also verified videos shared on social media and via WhatsApp showing security forces opening fire on protesters gathered at a football pitch near a mosque in Khartoum’s Burri district last week. At least one fell to the ground as a result of his injury and had to be carried away by other protesters. The injured were reportedly taken to Royal Care Hospital, where many protesters remained overnight.

On 17 January, Sudan’s security forces fired teargas into homes and buildings in the Burri area, an outright contravention of international guidelines on the use of force that require all force to comply with the principles of necessity and proportionality and forbid the use of teargas in confined spaces.

“This blatant violation of national and international laws must stop immediately, and independent and impartial investigations must be promptly launched into all allegations of human rights violations, including the deaths reported in the context of the protests so that all those found responsible are brought to justice in fair trials,” said Sarah Jackson.

“By participating in these protests, the people of Sudan are exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Instead of trying to curtail these rights, the government should address the root causes of the economic crisis that has driven the people to the streets.”

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