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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan’s Minister Justice stops criminal proceedings against Radio Dabanga

December 8, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese minister of justice Mohamed Bushara Dusa today stopped criminal proceedings against Radio Dabanga seven journalists charged with “undermining of the constitutional system” and “calling for violent resistance of the state.”

The defendants were arrested on 30 October 2010 as Sudanese security agents raided the office of the Human Rights and Democracy Network in Khartoum 2 area. The office was serving an office for Dabanga which is broadcasting from Holland but not licensed in Sudan.

Jaffar Al-Sabki, who works also for Khartoum-based Arabic daily Al-Sahafah, was the last journalist to be released in October 2011 but the court continued to proceed the case. Al-Sabki was summoned twice by the judge since he is out of prison.

The Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa stated on Thursday that he ordered to halt the criminal proceeding relating to the journalists of Radio Dabanga including Sabki and take all the necessary measures to end the case.

He told the official SUNA that the decision is issued in line with the directives of President Omer al-Bashir to spread freedoms and amnesty all the charges against journalists accused of offending public order.

Sources close to the case in Khartoum said Bashir was approached by influential journalists in Khartoum to issue a presidential pardon. Efforts by some western diplomats failed to secure his release.

The General Union of Sudanese journalists, a pro- government body, praised the amnesty saying it comes in phase with the new era, that the country is witnessing, which calls all the Sudanese to resolve their differences through dialogue

Radio Dabanga, which is one of few media outlets still reporting on the Darfur conflict, was seen by the government as a tool used by the rebels to communicate with Darfurins.

Khartoum wrote several times to the Dutch government demanding that they stop it from broadcasting.

The pro-government SMC website said the security service retrieved documents, during the raid on Danbanga’ office, showing details of a plan to embarrass the government of Sudan and weaken its position within the international community aided by the International Criminal Court (ICC) whihc is also based in Holland.