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Two journalists arrested, copies of three newspapers seized

(RSF/IFEX) - On 11 November 2002, RSF condemned the arrest by state security officials of Sidahmed Khalifa, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper "Al-Watan", and his son Adil Sidahmed Khalifa, a journalist from the same newspaper. The editor was arrested a few hours after criticising, at a press conference, the seizure of an issue of his own newspaper and those of two others published in Khartoum.

The organisation noted that the two journalists were simply doing their job when they reported on recent clashes between students and police at Khartoum University. RSF said recent attacks on the independent media appeared to be a return to censorship, which was abolished nearly one year ago. The organisation called for the journalists' immediate release and asked that the seized issues of the "El-Watan", "Al-Sahafa" and "Al-Horriya" newspapers be returned.

Sidahmed Khalifa was arrested on 9 November when he and his son responded to a summons by state security officials. The editors of the other newspapers were also summoned but were released after being questioned.

Sidahmed Khalifa's family has not been told where he is being held or what he is charged with. His son, Adil Sidahmed Khalifa, told the French news agency Agence France-Presse on 10 November that security officials had threatened him with reprisals if he published further reports about the clashes at the university. Adil Sidahmed Khalifa was himself arrested at the newspaper's offices on 11 November.

State security police seized copies of "El-Watan", "Al-Sahafa" and "Al-Horriya" during raids on their printing plants on the night of 8 to 9 November. The three newspapers carried reports about the university clashes despite a written warning by state security police on 4 November not to report on the events.

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