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Sudan frees editor as football fans launch protest

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AFP Kkartoum
Sudanese security agents on Friday released a prominent editor who had been detained for weeks for criticising a state of emergency, as scores of protesters including football fans held anti-government rallies, witnesses said.
Osman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Tayar, was taken away by security agents from his office on the night of February 22 after making televised comments on President Omar al-Bashir's decision to impose emergency rule nationwide. Bashir announced the measure after an initial crackdown failed to quell widespread protests against his administration that erupted in December.
"My father has been released and he's in good health. We are now on our way home," his son Jihad Mirghani told AFP.
Mirghani was arrested after an interview with Sky News Arabia in which he said Bashir's measures would "spark a new wave" of protests and send a message that the public "can exert more pressure to achieve its goal of removing this regime". The US-educated engineer turned journalist has often been targeted by security agents, who have detained him several times, confiscated copies of his newspaper or barred its publication without giving any reason.
Mirghani's release follows a demonstration by journalists Monday in the capital Khartoum, where they expressed solidarity with the editor and called for greater freedom of expression.
Sudan's powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) regularly seizes entire print runs of newspapers over articles it deems inappropriate, especially those criticising the authorities or government policies.
Sudan is ranked 174th out of 180 countries in media watchdog Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

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First Published: Mar 30 2019 | 2:35 AM IST

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