Sudan: Darfuri journalist detained

English PEN calls on the Sudanese authorities to release Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat (32), journalist and president of the Association of Darfur Journalists. Initially briefly detained and reportedly ill-treated on 12 May 2008, Shegifat was re-arrested on 14 May, held incommunicado until 30 May and remains imprisoned. It is feared that he is at risk of further ill-treatment. 

Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat, was arrested in Khartoum as part of a government crackdown in which over 200 individuals were detained between 9 and 16 May.

Those arrested are understood to have been accused of supporting the armed opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which has been fighting Sudanese government forces in Darfur since 2003 and launched an attack on Khartoum for the first time on 10 May. The arrests were reportedly arbitrary, made on the basis of people being or appearing to be from the Darfur region or on suspicion of having sheltered JEM members.

Some 50 of the detainees have since been released but many of those still detained are reported to be held incommunicado at Kober prison and other national security detention facilities in Khartoum or at unknown locations. Shegifat was held incommunicado until 29 or 30 May, when a lawyer was finally able to visit him. It is not known where Shegifat is being held or if he has been formally charged.

It is feared that Shegifat and the other detainees are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, or even extra-judicial killing. One of the detainees reportedly died in detention on 19 May as a result of internal bleeding caused by severe injuries. Shegifat is said to have suffered physical ill-treatment during a previous arrest by national security agents on 12 May.

Additional information

Other alerts on this case:

Amnesty International:

Reporters Sans Frontieres: 

Background information on Sudan:

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the detention since 14 May of journalist Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat;
  • Urging the authorities either to charge Shegifat with a recognisable criminal offence or to release him immediately and unconditionally;
  • Calling for assurances that while Shegifat remains in detention he will be treated humanely, and not tortured or ill-treated.


Mr Abdel Basit Sabderat

Minister of Justice

Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302, Khartoum, Sudan

Fax: 249 183 770883

Salutation: Dear Minister

Ibrahim Mohamed Hamed

Federal Ministry of the Interior

PO Box 2793, Khartoum, Sudan

Fax: 249 1 8377 6554

Salutation: Dear Minister

Copies to:


His Excellency Mr Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan
3 Cleveland Row
St. James’s

Dr Abdel Moneim Osman Taha

Rapporteur, Advisory Council for Human Rights, Khartoum, Sudan


Dr Priscilla Joseph

Chair of the Human Rights Committee, National Assembly, Omdurman, Sudan

Fax: 249 187 560 950

***Please send appeals as soon as possible. Check with English PEN if sending appeals after 1 July 2008.***

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