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Saturday, August 26, 2006


Journalist charged in Sudan: 'spying' and 'false reporting'

"Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune was charged in a Sudanese court Saturday with espionage and other crimes."
Sudan charges Tribune ace with writing 'false news'
Newspaper editor: Paul Salopek 'is not a spy'

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune was charged in a Sudanese court Saturday with espionage and other crimes.

Paul Salopek, 44, was charged in a 40-minute hearing with espionage, passing information illegally and writing "false news," the Tribune reported on its Web site. His driver and interpreter, both Chadian nationals, faced the same charges.

The three men were arrested August 6 by pro-government forces in the war-torn province of Darfur, the paper said. Salopek was working on a freelance assignment for National Geographic magazine during his arrest.

"He is not a spy," said Ann Marie Lipinski, editor and senior vice president of the Tribune. "Our fervent hope is that the authorities in Sudan will recognize his innocence and quickly allow Paul to return home to his wife, Linda, and to his colleagues."

Salopek was in Sudan writing an article on a sub-Saharan African region known as the Sahel, said Chris Johns, National Geographic's editor in chief.

"He had no agenda other than to fairly and accurately report on the region," Johns said.

Salopek has made telephone calls to National Geographic and Tribune editors, who have "worked through political and diplomatic channels in the U.S. and overseas to secure their release," the paper said.

"We are deeply worried about Paul and his well-being, and appeal to the government of Sudan to return him safely home," said Lipinski, who called the two-time Pulitzer winner "one of the most accomplished and admired journalists of our time."

A judge in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state in western Sudan, granted a defense motion for a continuance, delaying the start of the trial until September 10.
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who is in Africa on a two-week tour of several nations, is monitoring the situation and talking to the U.S. State Department, spokesman Robert Gibbs said from Kenya.

The Sudanese daily Al-Rai Al-Amm reported Saturday, before the hearing, that the trial would begin for an American in El Fasher on charges of entering the country without a visa. It did not identify the American or mention any espionage charges. Sudanese officials could not be reached for comment.

In 2001, Salopek won a Pulitzer for international reporting for his work covering Africa. In 1998, he won a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting for his coverage of the Human Genome Diversity Project.

Salopek was on staff at Washington, D.C.-based National Geographic from 1992 to 1995. He was born in Barstow, California, and raised in central Mexico, according to a magazine spokeswoman.

Salopek was on a scheduled leave of absence from the Tribune when he was detained.
Telephone and e-mail messages for the Sudanese Embassy in Washington were not returned Saturday.
How is the world supposed to know about different situations and crisis' without reporters? Or is this the problem you face, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's? Is the truth that terrible? YOU BET IT IS.

If you would like to read the whole article even though that link will take you to CNN's site, please go here. They never seem keep the story up for very long. I do not wish to deprive you of this news.

We must scream it from the rooftops. We must do all that we can. One thing you could do is go to Washington, DC and participate in the rally for Darfur, Sudan. It is going to held on September 9, 2006, and the other one is to be held on September 17, 2006 in NY City. Please go to Jay's site for further information. You may also reach him here.

Please help these people in Darfur. It is almost to late, but not yet. By helping them, maybe we can free this reporter? Let us pray...

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Category: Freedom, Darfur, Sudan, Media and News.

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