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Sudan7 May 2003

Journalist arrested and tortured

Reporters Without Borders called today for the immediate release of Yussef al-Bashir Musa, correspondent for the daily paper As Sahafa in Nyala (near the western town of Darfur), who was arrested and tortured by security forces there on 3 May after the paper reported on clashes in the area.

"The authorities must not physically abuse him. Such treatment is never justified." said the organisation’s secretary-general, Robert Ménard, who also expressed concern at the seizure of Assahafa and another paper.

A doctor who visited Musa in detention on 6 May said he had been tortured, even though he is already handicapped, with only one leg. He said he had been threatened with rape, beaten up and hit with sticks on the sole of his foot and on his shoulders. He was interrogated about reports he had sent to his paper in Khartoum.

The National Security Agency last month banned the press from reporting the fierce fighting that has raged in Darfur April, killing more than 50 people. Newspapers were warned by telephone they would be seized if they mentioned the clashes.

The press obeyed until the independent dailies Al-Sharie al-Syassi and Assahafa both printed reports on 3 and 4 May. All copies of the papers were seized on 6 and 7 May. Assahafa was told this was a "punishment."

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