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Sudan21 May 2008

Freelance reporter held incommunicado for past week

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the detention of freelance journalist Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat, who has been held incommunicado in an unknown location since 14 May. Neither his family nor his lawyer have been able to contact him and it is not known what he is charged with.

“The way this journalist has been made to virtually disappear is illegal and outrageous,” the press freedom organisation said. “The authorities must announce the charges against Shegifat and guarantee his rights as a citizen. The regime’s crackdown on the independent press since the armed attacks by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on 10 May is very disturbing. This wave of censorship will just aggravate the current instability.”

A freelancer who heads the Association of Darfur Journalists and writes for the privately-owned daily Ray Al-Shaab, Shegifat was first arrested by national security agents on 12 May in Khartoum and was released on the evening of the day. The Save Darfur NGO collective said it believed he was physically mistreated during this first period of detention.

He was then arrested again on 14 May, since when no one has had any contact with him.

According to the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT), around 100 people were arrested during the three days following the JEM attacks

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