28/09/2020

ZAM joins call for the release of Hajooj Kuka

Blog / By ZAM Reporter

Great news!!!

and the other four artists have just been released from prison after their appeal!!!! The global solidarity really made a difference. Thank you to everyone for your solidarity. There are the remaining six artists from the group who are still in prison, they were imprisoned one week after the group of five, they have also appealed. We need to keep up the pressure for them to be released and the many others who have been jailed for arbitrary and discriminatory reasons in Sudan.

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On 10 August 2020, Hajooj Kuka was arrested together with ten other artists from the Civic Lab in Khartoum, where they were rehearsing a theatre play. After being detained and assaulted by the police, the Central Khartoum Primary Court issued a verdict against five of the ten young artists, falsely accusing them of public annoyance stipulated in Article 69 of the Criminal Code and Article 77 on disruption of public safety. On 17 September 2020, Hajooj Kuka and four other artists were sentenced to two months of imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 SDG (76 euros).

Hajooj Mohamed Haj Omar (Hajooj Kuka) is a prominent Sudanese filmmaker and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As a director of both documentary and fiction films, his work has received critical acclaim world-wide. Born in Sudan, Kuka studied in Lebanon and in the United States and currently resides in Sudan. His documentary Beats of the Antonov on war, music and the resilience of the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, won the People's Choice at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to six other film festival awards. Due to his work, he was listed in the Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the Leading Global Thinkers of 2014. In 2018, Hajooj Kuka’s first narrative feature film AKASHA premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for Best Film at the Venice International Film Critics Week.

Alongside his filmmaking, he also teaches drama and filmmaking to young artists in Khartoum and is the co-founder of the refugee Club, an alliance of Sudanese artists whose work reflects an awareness of the transitory state of migration.

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR*) and its founding institutions, amongst them the European Film Awards, IDFA and the Venice, Sundance, Rotterdam, Toronto, Berlin and Thessaloniki festivals have now called for the immediate release of Kuka and his fellow artists. In a statement they write: 'We are very concerned about the safety of Hajooj Kuka and his fellow artists and call on the Sudanese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and his fellow artists and encourage all film and culture institutions around the world to do the same.'

ZAM has joined this call.