UN chief urges Sudan to respect press freedom


UN chief Antonio Guterres urged Sudanese authorities to respect freedom of speech and of the press, calling the stricken country hostile to journalists in a report delivered to the Security Council on Friday.

Hundreds of political activists, journalists, protesters and passers-by watching anti-coup rallies have been arrested following the latest turmoil in the country on October 25.

On that date, the military leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, but after international condemnation and mass protests, he reinstated the prime minister in a 21 November.

“In an environment increasingly hostile to journalists, I urge the authorities to respect freedom of speech and of the press,” Guterres said in the quarterly document, which has yet to be released but has been obtained by AFP.

“I reiterate my call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily arrested and detained, and for the cessation of arrests of opposition leaders and political activists,” he added.

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Sudan has a long history of military coups, enjoying only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.

“The future of the Sudanese transition remains uncertain,” Guterres said.

He further condemned “the use of live ammunition by the security and military forces against peaceful demonstrators, causing deaths and injuries”, calling it “unacceptable”.

AFP


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