HRW urges South Sudan to free detained journalist

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling upon authorities in South Sudan to release journalist it says has been arbitrarily detained.

The rights group released a call to action on Thursday, urging South Sudan to release Emmanuel Monychol Akop, the managing editor of The Dawn newspaper. Monychol was initially detained on 21 October after he answered a summons to appear in court and has remained in detention since 4 November following a second summons during his bail period.

HRW calls for journalist release

“Emmanuel Monychol’s detention is just the latest act of harassment by South Sudanese authorities in response to criticism or perceived dissent,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “The authorities should immediately release him unless he has been charged with a recognizable offence.”

HRW says “credible sources” told the rights groups that Monychol’s arrest was related to a Facebook post published on 15 October, in which he mocked the clothing of foreign affairs and international cooperation minister, Awut Deng Achuil.

“Monychol’s detention appears to be part of a broader crackdown by South Sudanese authorities to silence criticism by the media, nongovernmental groups, opposition parties, and National Assembly members,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“This has led to self-censorship in which human rights activists, journalists, critics of the government, and ordinary people no longer feel safe to speak freely and openly about topics deemed controversial.”

Featured image: By Mononomic (wikipedia:User:Mononomic) – Image:Hrw_logo.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6440997

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.