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Sudan 20 June 2007

Four journalists freed after being held for a week

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release today of Alfatih Abdullah of the privately-owned Arabic-language daily Al-Sudani, Qazafi Abdulmotalab of Al-Ayam, Abuobaida Awad of Rai-Alshaab and Abulgasim Farahna of Alwan, who were arrested in the northern city of Dongola on 13 June.

Abdullah told AFP they were not charged and were not mistreated while detained. They were arrested while on their way to a dam construction site at Kijbar, near Dongola, where four people were killed and at least 10 others were wounded when police opened fire on demonstrators opposed to the building of the dam.

18.06.2007 - Four journalists arrested on way to site of dam protest violently dispersed by police

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the continuing detention of four journalists employed by Khartoum-based daily newspapers, who were arrested in Dongola, in the state of Shamiliyah (North), on 13 June while on their way to cover a protest against the building of a dam in the Kijbar region.

“Does the Sudanese government think it can conceal embarrassing news by jailing journalists,” the press freedom organisation asked. “Arresting people because of what they have seen, or could see, is shameful and absurd, and violates the undertakings given by the government. There are no grounds for holding these four reporters and they should be freed at once.”

Alfatih Abdullah of the privately-owned daily Al-Sudani, Qazafi Abdulmotalab of Al-Ayam, Abuobaida Awad of Rai-Alshaab and Abulgasim Farahna of Alwan were arrested as they were travelling in a privately-owned vehicle at about 11 p.m. on 13 June.

They were on their way to the Kijbar dam construction site where four people had been killed and at least 10 others wounded when police used violence to disperse a protest by members of the Nubian population opposed to the building of the dam. After being questioned about the purpose of their trip, the journalists were detained in a Dongola police station.

Denied all contact with their newspapers, relatives or lawyers since their arrest, they have been transferred by the intelligence services to Khober prison in Khartoum.

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