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Head of Saudi Newspaper Office in Khartoum to Stand Trial

February 15, 1993

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) _ The government is bringing to trial a Saudi newspaper’s local correspondent on charges of possessing classified government documents and anti-government leaflets.

The arrest of Mohamed Abdul-Sayed Idris, who is Sudanese, is a further sign of growing tension between the two countries.

Its announcement also comes as Sudanese strongman Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan el- Bashir, who is battling rebels in the south, faces increasing international criticism for violating civil rights and denying religious freedom.

The state-run Sudan News Agency, reporting on the case Sunday, said Idris was also accused of maintaining contacts with opposition and foreign circles.

It did not specify the charges against him or say what sentence he could face if convicted.

Quoting what it called a high-level security source, the news agency said Idris had been under police surveillance for months before he was arrested last month. He ran the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper’s office in Khartoum.

Relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia have been deteriorating since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 because of Sudan’s opposition to the U.S.-led military intervention to liberate Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia has since halted its economic aid to el-Bashir’s Muslim government.

Earlier this month, el-Bashir’s government fired the chairman and the board of directors of the Saudi-Sudanese bank.

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