South Sudan: Journalist Kidnapped and Tortured Weeks After Release
A journalist in South Sudan has been abducted, tortured and dumped near a graveyard soon after being released by security forces for criticising the government.
Joseph Afandy had spent two months detained without charge before his release two weeks ago. Local reports say he was kidnapped by unknown men on Friday who later beat him, burned his legs and dumped him near a graveyard. Afandy is now recovering in hospital.
Calls for credible investigation
Rights groups have accused security forces in South Sudan of targeting journalists with increased violence since civil war broke out in the country more than two years ago. Robert Mahoney of the Committee to Protect Journalists publically spoke out over Afandy’s ordeal, calling for credible investigations.
“We call on authorities to credibly investigate this horrible crime against our colleague, Joseph Afandy, to hold the perpetrators to account, and to ensure the journalist’s safety,” he said. “No one should have to endure what this young man has survived.”
Afandy is among a number of journalists who have been detained without charge since the country’s civil war began. Criticising the government’s handling of the conflict is a dangerous game for reporters in South Sudan and Afandy’s suffering has continued following his release from two months of detention.
A dangerous profession in South Sudan
Last year seven journalists were killed in South Sudan while covering the country’s conflict. Most of those were caught up in fighting, but Peter Julius Moi was shot and killed in an allegedly planned attack, just days after President Kiir warned journalists who report “against the country” would be targeted.
Reporters Without Borders said it was “appalled by the situation in South Sudan” following Moi’s death and has criticised the recent torture of Joseph Afandy. The non-profit organisation currently ranks South Sudan as 125th out of 180 in its world press freedom index.