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Sudan10 September 2003

Journalist Yussef al-Bashir Musa freed

Yussef al-Bashir Musa, correspondent in Darfur province for the independent daily As-Sahafa,, was quietly freed on 21 August. He had been arrested on 28 July after reporting in the paper that a dozen students heading to a military training camp had been killed in a bus crash in Darfur province. He had been beaten and tortured during an earlier detention in May. Pressure to keep quiet about what happened during his latest detention may have led him not to tell his lawyer or Reporters Without Borders about his release.

Police confiscate copies of daily, arrest provincial correspondent

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the confiscation by police on 29 July of all the copies of the independent daily As Sahafa and called for the release of the provincial reporter, Youssef Al Bashir Musa, who wrote the story that appears to have prompted the newspaper’s punitive seizure.

"We demand Youssef Al Bashir Musa’s immediate release because of the threats to his safety, especially as he was previously tortured by the police," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard.

In a report published in the newspaper on 28 July, Musa wrote that more than 10 students heading to a military training camp were killed in a bus crash on the road from Al-Fashir to Nyala in the western province of Darfur. The authorities denied the report the same day, and arrested Musa in Nyala, where he is based. The next day, they seized all 20,000 copies of As Sahafa after they were printed.

The confiscation may also have been linked to another report in the newspaper the same day about a governor’s mediation between the national government in Khartoum and rebels in the west of the country. As Sahafa editor Adil Albaz said the authorities had issued a ban on any reporting on these mediation attempts.

Musa, who has lost a leg, was previously arrested on 3 May after his newspaper ran a report he wrote about clashes in the Darfur region. While held he was beaten several times, in the course of which he was hit with a cudgel on the sole of his remaining foot. He was released on 25 May.

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