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S. Sudan President speaks on detention of journalists


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November 10, 2011 (JUBA) — South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has justified the action of his security services in the continuing detention of two journalists who have been in detention, one for eight and one for six days.

President of South Sudan, Sala Kiir (Getty/AFP)

Kiir made the public address in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on Thursday.

Sudan Tribune journalist, Ngor Arol Garang, also editor of the The Destiny was arrested on 2 November. Dengdit Ayok, the paper’s deputy editor was arrested on Saturday 5 November, following an opinion article the paper carried, which was critical of Kiir’s daughter’s marriage to an Ethiopian.

In his first official statement on the matter, Kiir said "media freedom should not be abused to the extent of attacking personalities. In any case that will be defamation."

Kiir said the journalists will, after investigations, be handed over to the police. He did not specify when.

Different sources said the two journalists have been held in a detention facility run by the security service in Juba since their arrest.

"It is not a crime for a lady to get married to the man of her choice. Forceful marriage, like experience has shown, can sometimes be very disastrous. Why are you now complaining yet none of you applied to marry my daughter?" asked Kiir, amid laughter.

Abraham Malek, senior editor with The Destiny’s Arabic language sister paper, said it published an apology to Kiir’s family for the article and suspended Ayok for a month.

Neither Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s information and broadcasting minister, nor his deputy Atem Yaak Atem, have been available for comment on the issue since the arrests.

Both local and international bodies have widely condemned the arrest and called upon the South Sudanese government to take immediate steps towards the release of the two journalists.

Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders; Amnesty International; Committee to Protect Journalists; Association for Media Development in South Sudan; Community Empowerment for Progress Organization and South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy, have joined widespread condemnation of their arrest.

(ST)


PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION ASKING FOR OUR COLLEAGUE NGOR GARANG TO BE RELEASED AND PASS THE LINK ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND CONTACTS.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/release_ngor_garang/


Press Releases:

Reporters Without Borders - Authorities urged to free two journalists and reopen their newspaper

AMDISS - AMDISS Regrets Arrest and Detention of Destiny Editors

Amnesty International - Urgent Action: Two Journalists Arrested in South Sudan

Committee to Protect Journalists - South Sudan security detains two journalists

CEPO - Juba: Freedom of Expression should prevail

SSHURSA - SSHURSA Demands Realease of Editor Ngor & his Deputy Dengdit and Urges Security Organs to Respect the Constitution

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune calls for South Sudan to release journalist

Media Coverage:

Sudan Tribune - Amnesty International joins calls for the release of Sudan Tribune journalist

Sudan Tribune - South Sudanese journalist released, two remain in detention

Sudan Tribune - Human Rights Watch call for release of Sudan Tribune journalist

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune journalist arrested in Juba

Sudan Tribune - Sudan Tribune launches petition for release of journalist]


PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION ASKING FOR OUR COLLEAGUE NGOR GARANG TO BE RELEASED AND PASS THE LINK ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND CONTACTS.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/release_ngor_garang/