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KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces have confiscated the entire edition of an independent newspaper in the capital Khartoum, its editor said on Sunday, 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 August 3.

Sudan security seize newspaper

(AFP) – 7 hours ago 

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudanese security forces on Sunday seized all the copies of Al-Ahdath newspaper from the printers, its editor in chief said, in the latest sign of a clampdown on independent media in Khartoum.

“The security forces came to the printers and they took all the copies of the newspaper, without giving an explanation,” Adil al-Baz told AFP.

The newspaper was running a series of articles this month, called “The days of Carlos in Khartoum,” about the notorious international terrorist “Carlos the Jackal”.

Carlos — a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez — was seized in Sudan in murky circumstances in 1994.

It is not the first time the paper has been barred from distribution.

But Sudan has experienced a tightening of press freedom in the wake of South Sudan’s secession last month.

Several newspapers with links to the south were closed, including the popular Arabic daily Ajras al-Hurriya, and numerous journalists are on trial for reporting the alleged rape of a female opposition activist by security forces.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has accused the Sudanese authorities of harassing and prosecuting journalists in a bid to stop them making embarrassing revelations about human rights violations.

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