Home | News    Monday 25 September 2006

Sudanese police arrest 16 over journalist’s beheading


Sept 24, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese police said Sunday they have arrested 16 suspects in the murder of a prominent Islamist journalist whose decapitated body was found earlier this month.

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Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed

"There is no foreigner among the arrested 16 suspects," Sudanese police chief, General Mahjub Hassan Saad, told a press conference in Khartoum.

Earlier this month, a senior Sudanese security official said "foreign hands" may have been involved in the killing of Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, the editor-in-chief of the pro-Islamist al-Wifaq newspaper.

A sniffer dog had recognised two of the suspects because they had the smell of "objects found at the scene of the crime," said Saad, adding the investigation was ongoing.

The family of the beheaded journalist has expressed its deep concern for not being briefed on any practical steps taken by the authorities in the investigation into their son’s killing.

The independent Al-Ayam newspaper condemned today the ban imposed by the Sudanese police prohibiting the pres to write on the ongoing investigation on Mohamed Taha murder.

"This practice, from past experience, must raise our concern. Previously banning publication and imposing absolute secrecy was always the first step towards pushing the case into obscurity".

"However, this atrocious crime committed against one of our colleagues will remain in focus to us and public opinion. We will not allow it to be forgotten because it is a dangerous phenomenon in the society and is unprecedented in our country", the daily said.

Mohamed Taha father told Al-Watan newspaper Sunday that himself and other members of the family had made contacts at the highest level to find out about the investigations into the murder of the late editor, only to be told that: "we are working on it".

Mohamed Taha’s decapitated body was found in Khartoum on September 6, a day after he was abducted by armed men from his home in the north of the capital.

Considered to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood, Ahmed had strained relations with the government of President Omar al-Beshir, who came to power with the backing of Islamists.

Mohamed Taha had escaped an assassination attempt in 2000 after writing an article hostile to the ruling National Congress Party.

He was arrested last year after being accused of writing an article on the family of the Prophet Mohammed, and publication of his newspaper was suspended by the authorities.

In his defence, Mohamed Taha said it had been a misunderstanding and he was released, despite street demonstrations and radical Islamist groups demanding he be put to death.


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