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Sudan29 August 2007

Authorities seize entire issue of leading opposition weekly

Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s seizure of the latest issue of the Arabic-language opposition weekly Al-Midan by the security services. No official explanation was given.

“As well as violating the constitution and the law, the authorities have this time targeted a publication that is a symbol of the opposition press,” the organisation said. “Al-Midan is the Communist Party of Sudan’s historic weekly and had to be published clandestinely for more than 17 years. Its seizure is part of a new crackdown on the independent press.”

Security service agents seized all 15,000 copies of the latest issue when they went to the Al-Midan printing press yesterday. Faisal Elbagir, an Al-Midan editorial adviser and Reporters Without Borders correspondent in Sudan, said the seizure might have been prompted by articles criticising the confiscation of an issue of the Arabic-language daily Al-Raï Al-Chaab a week ago. He added that the aim might also have economic harassment, as the seizure represented a significant financial loss for the weekly.

Six independent dailies were the victims of censorship measures by the security services on 20 and 21 August aimed as suppressing reports about the arrests of persons suspected of organising attacks on western embassies.

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