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Security forces seize newspaper issue

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced the continuing Sudanese government attacks on freedom of the press as the security forces seized the independent "Ajras elHoreya" newspaper's 20 January 2011 "bells of freedom" issue after it had already been printed, without providing any reason for their actions.

The printer was about to hand the 20 January issue over to the distribution company when security forces personnel raided the printing press in the early hours of the same day. They delayed the delivery of the issue until 10 a.m., resulting in missed distribution of the newspaper.

"Ajras elHoreya" has been targeted in the past. The security forces raided its offices on 19 May 2010 because it was hosting journalists from the "Rai elShaab" newspaper. "Rai elShaab" had been closed down by the Sudanese authorities and three of its journalists were arrested. Abu Dhar Ali AlAmin received a prison sentence of 5 years over his writings and views.

Also in May, the Sudanese authorities brought the "Ajras elHoreya" newspaper's editor, Fayez elSheikh Sileik, and journalist elHaj Warraq to trial on charges of "undermining state prestige" and "disseminating false news" based on an article slamming the Sudanese presidential elections, won by Omar al-Bashir.

ANHRI said, "This latest incident shows clearly that the violations against press freedom in Sudan are not only blocking and closing media outlets, but also inflicting financial losses on press institutes that criticise the Sudanese government.

ANHRI expressed concern over the state of freedom of expression in Sudan and called on all those who are interested in freedom of the press worldwide to expose these practices and pressure the Sudanese government to reconsider its policies.

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