Sudanese authorities detain Reuters, AFP reporters in Khartoum

A Sudanese policeman stands guard in Khartoum, in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Sudanese authorities detain Reuters, AFP reporters in Khartoum

CAIRO: Sudanese authorities have detained a Reuters stringer and an AFP reporter who were covering protests in the capital Khartoum, the country’s external information council, which deals with foreign media organizations, said.
Reuters last had contact with its stringer early on Wednesday before he went to report on the demonstrations which resulted in clashes between police and protesters. Sudan has seen a wave of unrest over soaring living costs.
An official in the external information council, contacted by Reuters, did not say whether charges would be brought against the two Sudanese journalists. The official had earlier said they would be released early on Thursday.
“We do not know the circumstances of the detention and are actively seeking additional information about the situation,” a Reuters spokesperson said.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said five local journalists had also been arrested and called for the immediate release of all the reporters.
“By arresting and intimidating journalists, confiscating newspapers and attempting to censor news dissemination, the Sudanese authorities keep trying to get journalists to stick to the official narrative or pay the price,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement.
The Sudanese authorities arrested the journalists while they were reporting on demonstrations in Khartoum, according to the statement, which cited news reports and the independent Sudanese Journalists Network.
The Sudanese official declined to comment on the CPJ report.
The US State Department said it was aware of the detentions and was closely following the reports.
“We condemn the harassment, arbitrary detention, and attacks on journalists in Sudan who are doing their jobs and exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression,” State Department spokewoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
AFP confirmed the detention of one of its journalists. In an article, the news agency said its management strongly condemned the arrest and asked for his immediate release.
Protests and clashes with security forces broke out across Sudan this month after Khartoum imposed tough economic measures in line with recommendations by the International Monetary Fund.


Israel to build 2,500 new settler homes

Many Palestinians regard the announcement of the new settlements as being directly linked to the recent opening of the new US Embassy and the killings in Gaza. (Reuters)
Updated 23 min 43 sec ago
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Israel to build 2,500 new settler homes

  • The stark warning comes after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirmed on Thursday that he would seek final approval for 2,500 homes to be built across 30 settlements.
  • They are working to superimpose greater Israel on all of historic Palestine, says Hanan Ashrawi

AMMAN, Jordan: Israel’s decision to build thousands of new homes for settlers in the occupied West Bank has “ended the two-state solution,” according to Palestinian officials.

The stark warning comes after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirmed on Thursday that he would seek final approval for 2,500 homes to be built across 30 settlements. The work is likely to be approved at a planning committee meting next week.

The timing of Lieberman’s announcement is regarded as particularly provocative by Palestinian officials, still angered by the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the killing of 60 protesters in Gaza on May 15.

In a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian president, said: “The continuation of the settlement policy, statements by American officials supporting settlements, and incitement by Israeli ministers have ended the two-state solution and ended the American role in the region.”

The 2,500 houses, which are illegal under international law, will be spread across the occupied West Bank, with construction work due to begin immediately after approval is granted. The new houses will include 400 dwellings in Ariel, north of Jerusalem, and 460 in Ma’ale Adumim, a city already inhabited by about 40,000 people. Lieberman also said that “in coming months” he would push for the approval of another 1,400 settler houses now in the preliminary stages of planning.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, said the plans reveal “the real nature of Israeli colonialism, expansionism and lawlessness.”

She said: “Undoubtedly, Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose greater Israel on all of historic Palestine.”

In an appeal to the International Criminal Court earlier this week, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry branded Israeli settlements “the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives and livelihoods.” 

Ashrawi called for the legal body to “open an immediate criminal investigation into Israel’s flagrant violations of international law.”

According to a June 2017 article in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, more than 380,000 settlers live in the West Bank, with more than 40 percent based outside official settlements. Many Palestinians regard the announcement of the new settlements as being directly linked to the recent opening of the new US embassy and the killings in Gaza.

Khalil Tufakji, director of the maps and survey department at the Arab Studies Society, a Jerusalem-based NGO, told Arab News that the houses were designed to placate demands from the Israeli rightwing to create “a single state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.”