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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid