July 5, 2011 / 12:55 PM / in 6 years

Sudan journalist jailed for alleged rape article

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A northern Sudanese court sentenced a female journalist to one month in prison on Tuesday for writing an article about the alleged rape of an activist by security forces, her lawyer said.

<p>Protesters made up of journalists and civilians hold pictures of Al Jazeera news network's cameramen Ali Hassan al-Jaber during a solidarity rally against the assassination of journalists, in Khartoum March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah</p>

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedom, but several journalists have been detained without charge in recent months and papers are often subject to censorship.

The sentence against Fatima Ghazali is the first ruling after state prosecutors launched charges against several local journalists for writing about the alleged rape of a female activist after an anti-government protest earlier this year.

Sudan’s security forces have categorically denied the rape allegations.

“She was given a choice to pay immediately a fine of 2,000 Sudanese pounds or go to prison for a month. She decided to go to prison,” lawyer Hassan Abdullah told reporters after the Khartoum court session that was closed to the media.

Police had escorted her to prison, he added.

Ghazali works for the independent al-Jarida daily. Her editor-in-chief Saad el-Din Ibrahim was given a choice to pay a 5,000-pound fine or spend one month in prison but had not decided yet, the lawyer said.

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