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Freelance journalist Zouhir Latif deported following sudden arrest

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the deportation of Tunisian journalist Zouhir Latif on 1 March 2009. Latif, who has political refugee status in Britain, was put on a flight bound for London following his arrest on 27 February.

A freelance journalist who works for France 24's Arabic-language service and the pan-Arab daily "Al-Hayat", Latif was arrested at his home in Khartoum by intelligence agents and held for 48 hours before being expelled. Intelligence agents confiscated his computer's hard drive as well as video material and cassettes.

"We call on the Sudanese authorities to urgently explain this arrest, which comes less than a month after the expulsion of Heba Aly, a journalist with Canadian and Egyptian dual citizenship.", the organisation said.

Latif had just spent 21 days in the western region of Darfur although the travel permits issued to the journalists by the authorities are usually for periods of no longer than two weeks. According to local sources, his arrest could be linked to this visit to Darfur and the fact that he also works for the World Food Programme, a UN agency.

Heba Aly, who was working in Sudan for various international news media including Bloomberg News and IRIN (a UN humanitarian news agency), was deported on 2 February. Her expulsion may have been linked to her visits to Darfur and her reporting on the local arms industry.

For further information on the Aly case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/100738

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