Sudan: Army threatens journalists and activists with lawsuits
The Sudanese army has threatened activists and journalists with lawsuits for “insulting the military” on 18 July. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had condemned the blanket threat and called on military forces to stop intimidating the press and respect freedom of expression.
A statement issued on 18 July by the military said “Legal action would be taken against activists, journalists and others both inside and outside Sudan." The armed forces took this decision after "systematic insults and accusations crossed the bounds of patience", which they argued formed " part of a plan targeting the country’s army and security system.
The threat is a response to activists and rights groups in Sudan accusing the army of blocking investigation into the killing of scores of protesters on 3 June 2019 when the security forces broke up a sit-in outside the defence ministry. The army had denied these allegations and insisted that those who committed offenses would be punished.
The General Secretary of the IFJ, Anthony Bellanger, said that the Sudanese army's statement is "a blanket threat to freedom of expression, media freedom and the citizens’ right to access information in Sudan. The statement in its entirety is overloaded with threats against activists and journalists and this is unacceptable. It is clear that the military intends to intimidate and harass activists and journalists to silencing them."
The IFJ calls on the Transitional Government of Sudan to respect citizens’ right to freedom of expression in compliance with internationally recognised norms and to demonstrate tolerance regarding freedom of assembly and other fundamental rights as enshrined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.