November 15, 2010

H.E. President Omar Al Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Fax: +249 183 774339
Mohamed Atta Al-Moula Abbas
Director of the NISS
NISS Headquarters

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our serious concern regarding the arrest of Darfuri journalist Jaafar Alsabki Ibrahim.

According to our information, on the afternoon of November 3, 2010, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) raided the Khartoum offices of the opposition newspaper Al Sahafa, where Ibrahim works as a journalist. Agents took Ibrahim from the editing room, confiscated his mobile phone, and reportedly refused to allow him to call his family before he was arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. His current whereabouts are still unknown and he is believed to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Ibrahim’s detention was part of a wave of arrests between October 30 and November 3 that targeted nine Darfuri journalists and activists, in addition to an unknown number of others whose identity and/or present whereabouts remain unconfirmed. All nine detainees are believed to be held by NISS at an undisclosed location. None of them has had access to family or a lawyer. Reports suggest that one of them, Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, the director of Radio Dabanga, has been subjected to torture.

PEN American Center is gravely concerned about the arrest of Jaafar Alsabki Ibrahim and the numerous other journalists and activists arrested during the crackdown between October 30 and November 3, and believe that this crackdown is the result of a culture of impunity in Sudan. We are further concerned that the NISS continues to utilize the 2010 National Security Act to impose restrictions on freedom of expression in Sudan and to target journalists in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a signatory. We therefore call on the Sudanese government to disclose the whereabouts of Ibrahim and all other imprisoned journalists and guarantee them immediate access to their family and lawyers, investigate all allegations of torture, and release Ibrahim and all other writers immediately and unconditionally.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this critical matter.

Hannah Pakula                                              
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee           
Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Dr. Priscilla Joseph
Chair of the Human Rights Committee
National Assembly
Fax: +249 187 560 980

H.E. Akec Khoc Aciew Khoc
Charge d’Affaires
Embassy of the Republic of Sudan to the United States
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 667-240

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