News / Africa

South Sudan Releases Journalists Held For Criticizing President

The Deputy Editor of the Destiny newspaper, Dengdit Ayok, after being released from custody in Juba, November 19, 2011.
The Deputy Editor of the Destiny newspaper, Dengdit Ayok, after being released from custody in Juba, November 19, 2011.
Michael Onyiego

Two journalists, detained for two weeks by government security in the new nation of South Sudan, have been released. The two were arrested for publishing an article critical of President Salva Kiir's daughter.

The editor of the Destiny Newspaper, Ngor Garang and deputy editor Dengdit Ayok were released on Friday evening by South Sudan’s National Security Service. They were detained after publishing an article on October 26, criticizing President Kiir for allowing his daughter to marry an Ethiopian.

Ayok, the author of the piece, said President Kiir had “stained his patriotism” by giving his daughter to “an alien.” Garang was detained on November 1 and Ayok was arrested four days later.

Speaking on Saturday, Dengdit Ayok said he was released without warning and no charges were filed against him.

"The security handed us over to police and then we were taken to the minister of interior. We met the inspector general of the police. He informed us the president of the republic Salva Kiir Mayardit has pardoned us and that he has decided not to take us to court," he said.

Internal Security Chief Akol Kur initially accused Garang and Ayok of publishing “illicit news” which invaded the privacy of the president.  When reached by VOA News, Akol Kur refused to comment about the detentions and alleged beating.

Ayok said security officers beat him when he was arrested on November 5. He said he was then taken to a cell and fed only one meal per day. According to Ayok the prison held as many as 30 others accused of various crimes, including terrorism and cattle rustling.

After the arrest of Garang and Ayok,  the Destiny was forced to shut down publication. Officials from the paper say they do not know when they will be allowed to publish again.

Despite spending 13 days in prison, Ayok stands behind his controversial article.

“I didn’t break the law. My article was complying with the law," he said. "We have the only law which is the supreme law of the land. That is the transitional constitution of the republic of South Sudan. The press bill is not yet passed and even the security bill is not yet passed.”

A draft bill to govern media in South Sudan has been submitted to parliament, but has yet to be passed. Speaking at a meeting last week, the Executive Secretary of the Association For Media Development in South Sudan called on lawmakers to pass the press law as soon as possible.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs