Sudan confiscates entire newspaper edition-editor

KHARTOUM,  (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces have  confiscated the entire edition of an independent newspaper in  the capital Khartoum, its editor said yesterday, the latest sign  of a media crackdown.

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedom but  journalists often complain of pressure or censorship. Last  month, two female journalists were jailed for writing about an  alleged rape case.

“Security forces have confiscated all copies on Saturday  after we printed them,” said Adil al-Baz, editor and owner of  al-Ahdath newspaper, adding the newspaper had not been given a  reason for the confiscation.

The newspaper had planned to run an interview with a senior  official of the northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation  Movement (SPLM), the ruling party in newly-independent South  Sudan. It has also reported about corruption and terrorism  issues.

Sudan’s security forces were not immediately available to  comment on the confiscation, a move which would inflict  substantial financial damage on the publication.

One day before the independence of South Sudan in July,  Khartoum also suspended six newspapers because southerners were  among their publishers or owners.

The jailing of the two female journalists for writing about  the alleged rape of an activist by security forces has sparked  condemnation by the U.N. Special Representative on Sexual  Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallstroem.

“I am very concerned about these judgments … Regardless of  the facts of the case, Sudanese journalists have a right to  report on rape and other forms of sexual violence,” Wallstroem  said in a statement on Aug. 3.

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