Sudan Confiscates Newspapers That Report Sexual Assaults

Sudan Confiscates Newspapers That Report Sexual Assaults

Sudan's brutal crackdown on freedom of speech continued this weekend as government forces confiscated issues of 10 major newspapers on Sunday, because they carried stories reporting of sexual assaults on children in the country, newspaper editors and a security source confirmed.

The newspapers published a story on Sunday about a speech by an activist who said rape and sexual harassment were common on vehicles taking children to school.

Security forces entered the newspapers' printing facilities late Sunday night and early Monday morning to confiscate the entire print runs of Monday's editions, which contained the shocking accounts.

Such crackdowns on press and political freedoms by security forces have becomes commonplace after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir won another term in elections last monthy. Security services performed a similar confiscation on the entire print runs of 14 newspapers in February.

In that case authorities refused to give a reason for the confiscation, said Ashraf Abdel Aziz, editor-in-chief of Al-Jareeda newspaper.

"Today we disrupted the distribution of 10 newspapers ... for having yesterday published irresponsibly on the subjects of crimes of harassment and rape," the source at the National Intelligence and Security Service said.

The statement said that four of the newspapers would be prevented from publishing for several more days, while the state may pursue charges against some of the newspapers and their editors.

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