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Sudan11 June 2003

Security officials question Reporters Without Borders correspondent

Reporters Without Borders protested today against the lengthy interrogation of its correspondent in Sudan, journalist Faisal el Bagir, on his return on 8 June from Athens where he had attended an international conference of the future of the news media in Iraq.

"The aim of the interrogation was clearly to intimidate this journalist and human rights defender," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "We call on the Sudanese authorities to put a stop to this kind harassment, which is completely unjustified."

On his arrival in the early hours of 8 June at Khartoum airport, Bagir was detained for two hours by airport security officials who searched his bags and confiscated his passport and several newspapers. They also told him to report later in the morning to the political affairs department of the national security office. There he was questioned about his journalistic activities, his political views, his trip to Athens, and his links with the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (for which he works), the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders.

Bagir was previously detained at his home by airport security officials on 7 October 2002 on returning from Cairo, and was interrogated for several hours about an international conference on freedom of expression he had just attended in Dakar. He was also summoned several times during 2002 by security officials for questioning about articles he had written on human rights issues and about his links with human rights organisations.

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