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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 07 Newspaper editor detained without charge
UA 101/19
South Sudan
Abgeschlossen am 5. September 2019

Newspaper editor detained without charge

AI-Index: AFR 65/0791/2019

On 15 July 2019, Michael Rial Christopher, a 40-year-old South Sudanese newspaper editor was taken off a flight to Kenya by National Security Service (NSS) agents and arbitrarily arrested in Juba. He remains in detention at the NSS headquarters in Juba, also known as «Blue house».


Since the start of South Sudan’s internal armed conflict in December 2013, hundreds of people, mostly men, have been detained under the authority of the National Security Service (NSS) and Military Intelligence Directorate in various detention facilities across the capital city, Juba.

Amnesty International has documented numerous arbitrary detentions by the NSS in multiple facilities, where detainees are often subjected to torture and other ill-treatment – some held incommunicado without access to a lawyer, or family members. Others have been forcibly disappeared.

In the NSS prison headquarters in the Jebel Neighbourhood («Blue House»), detainees are severely beaten, especially during interrogation, or as a form of punishment. Due to the poor conditions of the prisons, as well as inadequate access to medical care, the health of those detained often deteriorates.

Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment have all been frequently employed by the authorities in South Sudan since the initial outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.

South Sudan’s political environment has remained intolerant of criticism of government actions and policies, leading to intimidation, harassment and detention of civil society activists, human rights defenders and independent journalists. This has led to an environment of self-censorship for media and human rights activists where, with the pervasive state surveillance, people no longer feel safe to speak freely and openly about the conflict and human rights situation.

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