Senegal: CPJ calls for the release of detained journalist in South Sudan

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Authorities in South Sudan should immediately and unconditionally release South Sudanese journalist Alfred Taban, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded Tuesday.

In a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, CPJ said that Taban, editor-in-chief of the independent English-language daily, Juba Monitor, has been held without charge since 16 July 2016.

"We urge South Sudanese authorities to release Alfred Taban immediately and allow the Juba Monitor to publish freely," remarked CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator Angela Quintal. "It is unacceptable that Taban is in jail for publishing his view of current events, which is the media's role."

According to the statement, South Sudan's National Security Service on 16 July summoned Taban along with Anna Nimiriano, the paper's editorial director, to security headquarters where a column Taban published the previous day was regarded as incitement.

Nimiriano was neither questioned nor held, but was asked to leave without her colleague who has been detained without being charged.

CPJ said the authorities also ordered editors at the paper to stop publishing, but that it was unable to determine the details of the order forcing Juba Monitor to cease publishing.

The press freedom watchdog revealed that the day before his arrest, Taban published a column calling on President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar to step down for failing to improve the security situation in the capital, Juba.

The column came in the wake of unrest as dozens of people were killed and thousands have been uprooted from their homes in a renewed round of fighting between supporters of Kiir and Machar on 11 July.

The power struggle between the president and the vice president set off a civil war in 2013 and after a peace deal was signed in December 2015, Machar recently returned to his role.

CPJ said it had reported on efforts by the government in South Sudan to muzzle the press this year, including the beating and arrest of journalists and the closure of several newspapers.

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 19July2016

19 july 2016 16:39:48

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