23rd August 2019
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Detained journalist’s case is “complicated”

Author: Nana Alfred | Published: 2 weeks ago

Michael Christopher, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Watan daily Arabic Newspaper

The Association of Media Development in South Sudan says “it is not clear” why Journalist Michael Christopher is being held by the National Security.

The Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic Newspaper Al-Watan, Michael Christopher, was arrested on the 17th of July after he was prevented from leaving the country for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Before his detention, Christopher told Eye Radio that the security officers confiscated his passport, preventing him from travelling and was told to go to report to the National Security.

His wife, Balita Rial also revealed to Eye Radio that her husband never returned home after he went to the National Security office to inquire why they confiscated his passport.

“Honestly, they did not say anything…they just confiscated his passport and told him to go there [Blue Hous],” she said.

Mrs Balita said she met her husband the following day at the NSS headquarters after she was allowed to see him.

She said her husband told her that nobody questioned or talked to him since he first went to the Blue House.

Read related story: https://eyeradio.org/blue-house-detains-newspaper-editor-wife/

Two weeks ago, the Association for Media Development in South Sudan, AMDISS, said it was going to engage the Media Authority over the detention of the journalist.

“Even it is not clear because when he was arrested there was no any arrest warrant, that was the issue and when I tried to call the wife, she also didn’t have any information about why he was arrested,” said Mary Ajith, AMDISS chairperson when asked on Tuesday August 6, to report any progress made on the matter.

Read related story: https://eyeradio.org/amdiss-to-look-into-news-editors-detention/

Ms Ajith described Michael’s case as “Complicated”.

“When I went to the Media Authority, they said they don’t know whether Michael’s arrest had anything to do with his journalistic work,” she said.

Ajith urged anyone with information regarding Michael’s case to approach AMDISS to enable them to understand the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

“If they are visiting Michael, they should let us know and we will be able to advocate for him.”

The press regulatory body, Media Authority earlier suspended activities of the Arabic daily newspaper- Al-Watan -managed by Michael -over what it said was non-compliance with its regulations.

This came three months after the Arabic daily carried a report about the protests in Sudan early this year.

He was forced to apologize for writing about the anti-Bashir protests.

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