Growing Concern Over Long Detention of A Journalist in South Sudan

"Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali has been an SRS employee continuously, since 1 April 2009. He was sent on a reporting assignment to Juba and Wau on 8 May 2011."

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali is a full-time employee of the Sudan Radio Service (SRS).  He is a news producer for the SRS Darfur News and Information Service (DNIS) and is based at SRS’s facilities in Nairobi, Kenya.  SRS’s main location is in Juba, southern Sudan.

SRS has been operating in southern Sudan since 2003 and is supported by the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Department of State. 

Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali has been an SRS employee continuously, since 1 April 2009.  He was sent on a reporting assignment to Juba and Wau on 8 May 2011.  He filed several stories from Juba and Wau on the activities of Darfur people currently living in those two southern Sudan locations.  Here is a listing of what has happened to him, during his assignment:

• Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali, was arrested by Public Security (PS) on May 18.  The arresting agent is Mr.Ading.

• Our reporter was being held at a location outside Wau town (called Bussere) about 12 miles(or 18 kilometres) south of Wau.  He has since been moved from that location to a location in Wau town.

• Our representatives have not been allowed to see him or ascertain his condition.

• They met with the Acting Governor, Minister of Legal Affairs and Law Enforcement in Western Bahr Ghazal, Justice John Peter Miskin and Press Secretary of the Governor of Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, Mr. Justin Abo

• They were told of (but not given any written list or evidence) accusations against our reporter; none of which, with the exception of taking photos without a permit, can be substantiated.
 
• On May 25 our reporter was transported by air from Wau to Juba, still under escort by Public Security.  He was immediately taken to a Public Security detention facility in Juba.

• As of May 30, no SRS representatives have been allowed to contact Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali.  He remains in detention, with no charges filed against him.

There are several versions of Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali’s name on his various identification documents.  His passport (#P00005723) lists only the first and last of those names (Mohamed Ali).  His SRS identity badge, however, lists the first two of those names (Mohamed Arkou).   It is also true that the English spelling of original Arabic names often uses different combinations of letters to represent the original Arabic.  There are at least two different spellings, for instance, of Mohamed (Mohammed).

We understand that Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali may have engaged in some reporting activities before getting all necessary permissions. For that, we apologize on his behalf, and we will be certain that he receives training to avoid such problems in the future.

The bearers of this letter are seeking Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali’s release from detention and his return to our Juba offices, where we will check him for any harm that may have come to him, before returning him to our Darfur News and Information Service reporting team in Nairobi.  We have already sought and received the assistance of the United States Consular Office and the USAID Mission in Juba.  We have also instructed our Juba based attorney to seek whatever relief is due SRS and Mohamed Arkou Adiebou Ali under the law.

Sincerely,
Charles M. Northrip, Ph.D.      Victor Lugala
For: Jon Newstrom, Chief of Party, SRS    Deputy Chief of Party, SRSUNMIS Press Release
29 May 2011

For further information, contact OIC, UNMIS Spokesperson Mr. Kouider Zerrouk. Phone: + (249) 912 39 65 39. Email: Zerrouk@un.org

 

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