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Sudan seizes more newspapers as frustration mounts

hartoum22KHARTOUM: Sudanese security agents seized all the copies of three independent newspapers on Sunday, their editors said, the latest such move in a week long crackdown on local independent dailies.

The security agents took all the latest editions of Al-Ahdath, Al-Watan, and Al-Jarida early on Sunday, shortly after they had been printed, without giving a reason, their editors told AFP.

The arbitrary seizure of independent newspapers comes amid concerns about worsening press freedom under the government of President Omar al-Bashir, which has coincided with escalating tensions between Khartoum and Juba.

"I think they want to hit us with heavy financial losses, because we have lost a lot of money from the printing and from the money we expected to get from advertising," said Al-Jarida's editor-in-chief Osman Shinger.

"They want to kick us out of the market. It is a bad thing for the freedom of expression in Sudan," added Shinger, whose paper has now been barred from circulating at least three times this month.

On Friday, Al-Jarida and Akhir Lahza, another independent daily, saw their print-runs confiscated prior to distribution.

On Tuesday, security agents took all the copies of Al-Ahram, which contained an interview with a top South Sudanese official, and also banned the newspaper Al-Tayar from publishing for an unspecified period of time, its editor said.

And journalists and members of the opposition Communist Party held a sit-in in early June to protest repeated restrictions against their newspaper, Al-Midan, after its distribution was blocked by security agents 13 times over the past month.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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