PEN protests the two-week detention of Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat, 32, freelance journalist for the privately owned daily Ray Al-Shaab and president of the Association of Darfur Journalists, who has been detained, apparently without charge, since May 14, 2008. Initially detained briefly and reportedly ill treated on May 12, Shegifat was re-arrested on May 14, held incommunicado until May 30, and remains imprisoned. PEN fears that he is at risk of further ill treatment and calls for his release.

More information:

BBC profile of Sudan

Background Information

Shegifat was arrested in Khartoum as part of a government crackdown in which over 200 individuals were detained between May 9 and May 16; he has been held incommunicado for two weeks. Those arrested were accused of supporting the armed opposition group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which has been fighting Sudanese government forces in Darfur since 2003 and launched an attack on Khartoum for the first time on May 10. The arrests were reportedly arbitrary, targeting those who are from or appear to be from the Darfur region or those who have been suspected of sheltering JEM members.

Fifty of the detainees have since been released but those still detained are reported to be held incommunicado at Kober prison and other national-security detention facilities in Khartoum or unknown locations. Shegifat was held incommunicado until May 29 or May 30, when a lawyer was finally able to visit him. It is not known where Shegifat is being held or if he has been formally charged.
It is feared that Shegifat and the other detainees are at risk of torture and ill treatment, or even extrajudicial killing. One of the detainees reportedly died in detention on May  19 as a result of internal bleeding caused by severe injuries. Shegifat is said to have suffered physical ill treatment during a previous arrest by national-security agents on May 12.

Write A Letter

  • protesting the detention since May 14 of journalist Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat;
  • urging the authorities either to charge Shegifat with a recognizable criminal offense or to release him immediately and unconditionally;
  • calling for assurances that while Shegifat remains in detention he will be treated humanely, and not tortured or ill-treated.

Send Your Letter To

Minister of Justice
Mr. Abdel Basit Sabderat
Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: +249 183 770883
Salutation: Dear Minister
Federal Ministry of the Interior
Ibrahim Mohamed Hamed
PO Box 2793
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: +249 1 8377 6554
Salutation: Dear Minister
Dr. Abdel Moneim Osman Taha
Advisory Council for Human Rights, Khartoum, Sudan
Chair of the Human Rights Committee
Dr. Priscilla Joseph
National Assembly
Omdurman, Sudan
Fax: +249 187 560 950
Please send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Sudan in your country.
Please send appeals as soon as possible. Check with PEN if sending appeals after July 1, 2008: ftw [at]