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Two journalists facing death penalty acquitted

(RSF/IFEX) - 2 February 2011 - Reporters Without Borders hails with relief the news that on 1 February, Abouicha Kazem and Abdelgader Bakash, two journalists from the weekly Bar'ut who were facing the death penalty, were acquitted.

According to the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), the authorities in Khartoum abandoned the charges against the two men, who were accused of attacking the Sudanese constitution after they raised the possibility of eastern Sudan's secession in an article, in the context of the referendum on self-determination in the south.

The two were accused of trying to overthrow the constitution, a charge punishable by hanging.

"But Reporters Without Borders regrets that the two journalists, held in prison since 10 January, had to spend three weeks in detention," the press freedom organization said.

"The way they were treated was undoubtedly a measure of intimidation. The dropping of the charges against them proves that there was no case against them, other than that they had expressed a point of view."

The organization calls on the Sudanese authorities to pay greater respect to the expression of opinions.

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