Amal Abbas

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Amal Abbas "is a Sudanese editor with an uncompromising editorial eye and a knack for exposing government corruption. In April 1999, after writing for several newspapers and magazines in Sudan, Abbas became the only woman editor in chief of a newspaper in her country when she joined Al-Rai Al-Akher (Other Perspectives). Just one month later, Abbas became the target of political attacks.

"Al-Rai Al-Akher was suspended many times and finally banned from publishing for an indefinite period. The newspaper's offense was reporting on a public political forum about the Sudanese civil war. The suspension was finally lifted in September 1999. In 2001, Abbas spent 36 hours in Omdurman Women's Prison because she published an article accusing an unnamed law official of misappropriating funds.

"When Abbas printed a story accusing Khartoum government authorities of squandering funds, her newspaper was fined one billion Sudanese pounds (approximately $390,000), the heaviest fine ever imposed on a Sudanese newspaper. When she was unable to pay her fine, Abbas was sentenced to three months in prison. She was released after 17 days by the Appeals Court...

"Shortly after the awards ceremonies, she changed jobs and became editor in chief of Al-Horriyya, another independent daily newspaper in Khartoum." [1]

"A Khartoum court jailed Amal Abbas, editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Rai al-Akher, and Ibrahim Hassan, a reporter for the paper, for three months for failing to pay fines in a libel suit. The two were found guilty of libeling Khartoum governor Majzoub Khalifa in a 2000 article that accused him of corruption and nepotism. They were ordered to pay fines of 15 million pounds (US$5,900) each. Al-Rai al-Akher was also hit with a 1 billion pound fine (US$390,000), reportedly the largest fine ever imposed in a libel suit in Sudan." [2]

"In a 5 February [2001] letter to President Bashir," the International Press Institute "strongly condemned the decision by a Sudanese court to imprison two journalists after they failed to pay fines. On 4 February, Amal Abbas, editor of the newspaper Al-Rai Al-Akher and Sudan’s sole female newspaper editor-in-chief, and Ibrahim Hassan, a reporter with the newspaper, were sentenced to three months' imprisonment for failing to pay a fine of 15 million Sudanese pounds (US $5,800) imposed on them after the court found them guilty of libelling Khartoum governor Mazjoub al-Khalifa.

"The charges were based on an article written in August 2000 by Hassan alleging corruption in the local government in Khartoum state. The court said the information in the article was "incorrect" and "damaging" to Khartoum state and also ordered the newspaper to pay a fine of one billion Sudanese pounds (US $390,000) for publishing the article. Abbas and Ibrahim, who said they would appeal, were imprisoned because they could not afford the fines. Local journalists said the sentences were the most severe imposed by a court on a Sudanese newspaper or journalist. Abbas and Ibrahim were released on bail on 19 February pending appeal." [3]

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References

  1. Courage Award Winners Learn to Live with Terror, International Women's Media Foundation, accessed October 19, 2007.
  2. Sudan, CPJ, accessed October 19, 2007.
  3. 2001 World Press Freedom Review, International Press Institute, accessed October 19, 2007.