9th August 2020
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Journalist Christopher released by NSS

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Sunday, August 25, 2019

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

The National Security Service has released Michael Christopher, the Editor in Chief of the Arabic daily Newspaper Al-Watan.

He spent 39 days in detention at the National Security headquarters.

Last month, national security officers confiscated Christopher’s passport at Juba International Airport as he tried to travel to Nairobi, Kenya.

He was later summoned to the National Security Headquarters-Blue House, where he was arrested and detained.

Rights groups such as Amnesty International condemned what they called his “arbitrary detention”, and asked the government to formally charge or release him.

They described Christopher’s arrest as a shameless attack against freedom of the press in South Sudan.

Speaking to Eye Radio on Saturday after he was released, Christopher said he was released without specific charges.

“I’m ok, I was released but no specific charges have been brought against me,” Christopher affirmed.

He added that he was not maltreated while behind bars.

“I didn’t face any political pressure or any inappropriate forms of it, the officers were friendly,” he said.

In January, both South Sudan’s Media Authority and the NSS had warned Christopher, after he published an opinion article supporting the political protests in Sudan.

The authorities suspended publication of Al-Watan in March on grounds of non-compliance and operating without a license.

“When I went there the discussion was about the formation of a committee to investigate [me], but nothing happened for me to know the reason behind my arrest,” Christopher said.

South Sudan ranked 139 out of 180 countries on reporters without borders’ 2019 global press freedom index.

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