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Authorities seize entire issue of leading opposition weekly

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the seizure of the latest issue of the Arabic-language opposition weekly "Al-Midan" by the security services on 28 August 2007. No official explanation was given.

"As well as violating the constitution and the law, the authorities have this time targeted a publication that is a symbol of the opposition press," the organisation said. "'Al-Midan' is the Communist Party of Sudan's historic weekly and had to be published clandestinely for more than 17 years. Its seizure is part of a new crackdown on the independent press."

Security service agents seized all 15,000 copies of the latest issue when they went to the "Al-Midan" printing press on 28 August. Faisal Elbagir, "Al-Midan" editorial adviser and Reporters Without Borders correspondent in Sudan, said the seizure might have been prompted by articles criticising the confiscation of an issue of the Arabic-language daily "Al-Raï Al-Chaab" a week earlier. He added that the aim might also have been economic harassment, as the seizure represented a significant financial loss for the weekly.

Six independent dailies were victims of censorship measures by the security services on 20 and 21 August aimed at suppressing reports about the arrests of persons suspected of organising attacks on western embassies (see IFEX alert of 24 August 2007).

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