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Sudanese Journalists Investigated

August 27, 2000

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) _ Two Sudanese journalists are currently under investigation for accusing the government of corruption, their papers said Sunday.

Alwala Burhi Kaidani, a strong supporter of minority rights, was arrested early Friday morning, said Amal Abbas, editor of the pro-leftist Al-Rai al-Akhar.

The second journalist, Osman Mirghani, was arrested Thursday after writing an article in which he accused the Justice Ministry of being a ``scarecrow″ in handling corruption cases, said his daily Al-Rai Al-Am daily. Mirghani had been repeatedly summoned and interrogated for handling issues considered taboo, including financial corruption, social disintegration and power struggles.

``We are taking the matter to the Supreme Court to question why the state security have not released Kaidani after more than 62 hours of his arrest,″ lawyer Ghazi Suliman told The Associated Press, saying his client should have been released after 48 hours.

The Sudanese Journalists Union was closely following the case.

Sudanese newspapers are not permitted to report on the armed forces or subjects touching on national security beyond official statements. Under Sudanese law, unsubstantiated accusations of corruption and other illegal acts by the government are punishable by fines and imprisonment of two months to life.

A study conducted by a government think tank said last month that the Sudanese government punished more newspapers last year for political purposes than it did in 1998. The National Council for Press and Publications, a government body that controls and disciplines newspapers, said there were 27 politically motivated suspensions last year, compared to just four in 1998.

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