Sudan suspends independent newspaper over 'violations'

KHARTOUM – Sudanese authorities have ordered the suspension of an independent newspaper, saying it had "committed a raft of violations" against state institutions.

In a statement, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said that independent daily Al-Saiha had "condemned some [state] institutions without a solid, professional investigation."

"It is not fair or ethical to distort the reputation of an institution or individual without legal basis or a judicial ruling," the NISS added, without naming the institutions or individuals in question.

The move came on the heels of the paper's publication of reports on corruption cases involving government officials.

Al-Saiha board chairman Yasser Mahgoub told Anadolu Agency that the NISS had notified the paper of the decision to "indefinitely" suspend it, describing the move as "regrettable."

Suspending newspapers in Sudan is not uncommon. Civil society organizations frequently accuse security agencies of cracking down on media outlets that criticize the government.

Last month, President Omar al-Bashir pledged to let the country's various political forces and media outlets practice their activities freely as part of promised reform plans. He also ordered the release of all political detainees who had not been convicted of criminal offences.

Sudan has remained on edge since the government announced a raft of austerity measures last September, including a major reduction of fuel subsidies.

The move was aimed at reining in Sudan's widening budget deficit and curbing government spending.

Several people were killed in subsequent anti-austerity protests that erupted countrywide.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency