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Sudan12 November 2002

Two journalists released

Sidahmed Khalifa, editor of the daily Al-Watan, and his son Adil Sidahmed, the paper’s deputy editor, were freed on 12 November. The editor told Reporters Without Borders he had been held in prison at Kober, in a special wing run by the state security police. His son was told that he himself he would be prosecuted for publishing "false news" in a report on clashes at Khartoum University.

11 November 2002

Two journalists arrested and issues of three newspapers seized by government

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest by state security officials of Sidahmed Khalifa, editor of the daily newspaper Al-Watan, and his son Adil, a journalist on the paper. The editor was arrested a few hours after he had criticised at a press conference the seizure of an issue of his own paper and those of two others published in Khartoum.

The organisation, which noted the two journalists had simply been doing their job by reporting recent clashes between students and police at Khartoum University, said recent attacks on the independent media seemed to be a return to the prior censorship abolished nearly a year ago. It called for the journalists’ immediate release and return of the seized issues of the three papers - El-Watan, Al-Sahafa and Al-Horriya.

Khalifa was arrested on 9 November when he and his son, Adil Sidahmed Khalifa, responded to a summons by state security officials. The editors of the other papers were also summoned but were not arrested after they had been questioned.

Khalifa’s family has not been told where he is being held or what he is accused of. Adil told the French news agency Agence France-Presse yesterday that security officials had threatened him with reprisals if he published further reports on the troubles at the university. Adil was himself arrested at the paper’s offices today.

State security police seized copies of El-Watan, Al-Sahafa and Al-Horriya in raids on their printing plants during the night of 8-9 November. The three papers carried reports about the university clashes despite a written warning by state security police on 4 November not to report on the events.

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