08/01/2019

Urgent Action: Newspaper Editor Detained Without Charge (South Sudan: UA 101.19)


On 15 July 2019, Michael Rial Christopher, a 40-year-old South Sudanese newspaper editor was taken off a flight to Kenya by National Security Service (NSS) agents and arbitrarily arrested in Juba. He remains in detention at the NSS headquarters in Juba, also known as ‘Blue house’.

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Salva Kiir Mayardit
President of the Republic of South Sudan
Juba, South Sudan
Twitter: @RepSouthSudan @PresSalva
Ambassador Philip Jada Natana
Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan
1015 31st Street NW Suite 300, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 293 7940 I Fax: 202 293 7941
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2MxNx4r
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Your Excellency President Salva Kiir,

I am writing to bring to your attention the case of Michael Rial Christopher, a South Sudanese editor-in-chief of the Al Watan daily newspaper.

On 15 July 2019, Michael was arbitrarily arrested by the National Security Service (NSS) in Juba just after he had boarded a plane to Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently detained at the NSS headquarters, known as ‘Blue House’, without access to a lawyer. According to one of his relatives, Michael has not been informed of any charges against him.

In January 2019, after Michael published an opinion article supporting the protests in Sudan, the Media Authority and the NSS warned Al Watan not to report about the anti-government protests. Michael temporarily fled South Sudan in January 2019 due to death threats from persons he believes were NSS agents and returned to the country in February. In March 2019, the authorities suspended Al Watan for operating without a license, an allegation that Michael denies.

I urge you to ensure that Michael Rial Christopher, is handed over to the police, brought to court and charged with a recognizable criminal offense in accordance with international law and standards, or released; ensure that Michael Rial Christopher is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention; ensure that Michael Rial Christopher is granted regular access to his family, any healthcare he may require from a qualified medical practitioner, and a lawyer of his choice.

Yours sincerely,

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