A Khartoum court jailed three opposition journalists after finding them guilty of destabilising the constitutional system, their lawyer said, in the latest sign of a media crackdown.
A judge sentenced Abuzar al-Amin, the deputy editor in chief of the daily Rai al-Shaab, to five years in prison, and two other journalists, Ashraf Abdelaziz and Al-Tahir Abu Jawhara, to two years each, Reuters reports.
“It is not reasonable to put journalists in prison for what they write with their pens. We will appeal,” their lawyer, Abel Moneim Osman, told Reuters.
Osman said the judge also ordered the closure of Rai al- Shaab, which is linked to the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party.
Armed security agents raided the paper in May, arresting staff and seizing a print-run. Agents also arrested the party’s leader Hassan al-Turabi and held him for six weeks before releasing him without charge.
Government officials told Reuters at the time that articles in Rai Al-Shaab accusing Sudanese president Omar Hassan al- Bashir of rigging April’s elections and reporting that Iran was developing weapons in a Sudanese factory had set out to destabilise the country.
Sudan’s constitution enshrines press freedom but an unpopular national security law and other legislation allows authorities broad powers to restrict the press.