Sudanese forces release AlAraby TV journalists arrested over protest coverage
Reporter Wael Mohammed Alhassan, office supervisor Islam Saleh, camera operator Mazen Oono and his assistant Abu Baker Ali were all arrested during a raid on The New Arab's sister channel's office in Khartoum earlier that day.
Alhassan said that journalists were covering the demonstrators from the rooftop of AlAraby TV’s building when they suddenly had tear gas canisters raining down on them.
“When we went down the building, we were then met by security forces”, Alhassan said.
They were taken outside, physically assaulted, and then taken to Khartoum’s Military Intelligence Centre by army personnel, according to the reporter. They were verbally and physically abused again upon arrival, and had their camera equipment destroyed.
The journalists were interrogated for more than four hours. Alhassan said that they were "treated differently" after their interrogation ended and received an official apology from the security forces, admitting that their detention was a “mistake”.
“These are attempts to suppress the media and it seems to be a message of intimidation from the [Sudanese] army to the media. This is not the first time that we are exposed to these violations, and it will not be the last”, Alhassan told The New Arab.
Alaraby is a regional television channel covering the Middle East and broadcasting from London.
Set up in 2015, it has played a key role in combating disinformation spread by state broadcasters in a region dominated by authoritarian government narratives.
Over the past years, its broadcasts have been blocked by the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.
The station is part of the Fadaat Media group, which also includes the al-Araby al-Jadeed daily newspaper and The New Arab website.
Demonstrations have rocked Sudan since an October 25 military coup during which Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
Under international pressure, Hamdok was eventually reinstated as part of a deal signed on November 21. But pro-democracy activists have vowed to maintain pressure on the military authorities and protests have continued since, with dozens of people killed.