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On 13 January, Madeeha Abdalla, the editor-in-chief of Al-Midan, was charged by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) with crimes against the state. These charges appear to be the result of Al-Midan’s rejection of pre-publication censorship and its coverage of banned political movements in Sudan. Al-Midan recently published an interview with a military commander of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), an independence movement based in North Kurdufan state.1

The charges against Abdalla include acts of criminal conspiracy, undermining the constitutional system, encouraging violent or criminal opposition to public authority, and publication of false news (articles 21, 50, 63 and 66 of the Criminal Code).2 The maximum sentence under these charges includes the death penalty. Abdalla was released on bail and was supported by a large group of journalists and human rights defenders at her first court hearing on 20 January. The next hearing is scheduled for 16 February.

APC strongly condemns the charges laid against Abdalla, which are a clear violation of the universal human rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to information. Media freedom is essential for democratic and accountable governance, shedding light on violations of human rights by governments and private actors. Recent crackdowns on media freedom violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a number of international conventions and treaties ratified by Sudan.

Sudan is among the most restrictive countries in the world for media freedom. In 2014, Sudan ranked 172nd of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index,3 routinely arresting journalists who do not comply with pre-publication censorship.

We stand in solidarity with Madeeha and Sudanese journalists.


[1] RSF, “A journalist from Al-Midan newspaper in government’s sights again”…
[2] Sudan Tribune, “Sudanese journalist charged with undermining constitutional order”
[3] RSF Press Freedom Ranking