Sudan journalist jailed for alleged rape article

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A northern Sudanese court sentenced a female journalist to one month in prison yesterday for writing an article about the alleged rape of an activist by security forces, her lawyer said.

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedom, but several journalists have been detained without charge in recent months and papers are often subject to censorship.

The sentence against Fatima Ghazali is the first ruling after state prosecutors launched charges against several local journalists for writing about the alleged rape of a female activist after an anti-government protest earlier this year.

Sudan’s security forces have categorically denied the rape allegations.
“She was given a choice to pay immediately a fine of 2,000 Sudanese pounds (US$750) or go to prison for a month. She decided to go to prison,” lawyer Hassan Abdullah told reporters after the Khartoum court session that was closed to the media.

Police had escorted her to prison, he added.

Ghazali works for the independent al-Jarida daily. Her editor-in-chief Saad el-Din Ibrahim was given a choice to pay a 5,000-pound fine or spend one month in prison but had not decided yet, the lawyer said.