KHARTOUM: Sudanese authorities on Monday shut down the newspaper of the opposition Popular Congress Party — just months after it started publishing again following an earlier raid.
The Rai Al-Shaab newspaper belongs to the party of Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi. He was once a key figure in the regime of President Omar Al-Bashir but later became one of his fiercest critics.
Nagi Dahab, the publication’s manager, said an intelligence officer told him and the chief editor on Monday afternoon of the decision "to shut down the newspaper and take its property."
Dahab said the officer then accompanied them to their office where he took inventory of the newspaper’s property and ordered them to leave.
"The manager of security and intelligence in Sudan suspended the publication of Rai Al-Shaab," Sudanese Media Center, which is close to the security apparatus, said in a brief dispatch Monday night.
The newspaper had resumed printing a few months ago after an earlier shutdown.
In May 2010 authorities stopped publication of Rai Al-Shaab (The Opinion of the People), over alleged "erroneous" reports about relations with Egypt and Iran.
Turabi was arrested and jailed the same day as the newspaper raid, following his allegation that elections which returned Bashir to power were fraudulent.
Sudan’s intelligence services have a reputation for visiting newspapers at night to demand that articles be removed, or barring their distribution altogether.
But the country witnessed a crackdown on political and press freedom after South Sudan formally split from the north in July, following an almost-unanimous vote that followed decades of civil war.
Ibrahim Al-Sonosi, a deputy of Turabi, was detained by security forces at Khartoum airport without explanation on December 19, his party said. He has not yet been released.
Turabi himself was held for more than three months last year. He had warned in an interview with AFP that Sudan likely faced a revolt similar to what occurred in Tunisia, where veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted.