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Four journalists arrested while travelling to cover violently suppressed dam protest

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned the continuing detention of four journalists employed by Khartoum-based daily newspapers who were arrested in Dongola, in the state of Shamiliyah (North), on 13 June 2007 while on their way to cover a protest against the building of a dam in the Kijbar region.

"Does the Sudanese government think it can conceal embarrassing news by jailing journalists?" the press freedom organisation asked. "Arresting people because of what they have seen, or could see, is shameful and absurd, and violates the undertakings given by the government. There are no grounds for holding these four reporters and they should be freed at once."

Alfatih Abdullah of the privately-owned daily "Al-Sudani", Qazafi Abdulmotalab of "Al-Ayam", Abuobaida Awad of "Rai-Alshaab" and Abulgasim Farahna of "Alwan" were arrested as they were travelling in a privately-owned vehicle at about 11:00 p.m.(local time) on 13 June.

They were on their way to the Kijbar dam construction site, where four people had been killed and at least 10 others wounded when police used violence to disperse a protest by members of the Nubian population opposed to the building of the dam. After being questioned about the purpose of their trip, the journalists were detained in a Dongola police station.

Denied all contact with their newspapers, relatives or lawyers since their arrest, they have been transferred by the intelligence services to Khober prison in Khartoum.

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