December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Sudan

Sudan August 29, 2006

H.E. Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir
President
Office of the President
Revolutionary Command Council
Khartoum
Republic of The Sudan
 

Your Excellency:
 

 We write to express our concern that Paul Salopek, a distinguished journalist, has been arrested in Sudan and charged with espionage and illegal entry of the country. The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization of international journalists founded in 1939, assures you that Mr. Salopek is a respected and thoroughly ethical reporter who would never jeopardize his professional standing by engaging in spying. As we are sure you will find in your investigation, Mr. Salopek traveled openly with a driver and an interpreter and made no effort to hide his work. While it is unfortunate that he entered Sudan without a visa, that has become a relatively common expedient for journalists frustrated by your government’s reluctance to issue them.
 

 Mr. Salopek, a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune who is on leave to work on a story for National Geographic magazine, has frequently reported on Africa, and his current project is a study of the culture, history and politics of the Sahel region. His professional standing is attested by the fact that he has won two Pulitzer prizes, which are among the most prestigious awards in journalism. We have also honored him with several Citations (Honorable Mentions) in the Overseas Press Club Awards.
 

 We are dismayed to learn that Mr. Salopek was held incommunicado for nearly two weeks after his arrest and was given access to legal advice only ten days ago, but it is gratifying that the trial judge has granted a delay to prepare his defense. We hope and trust that the espionage charge will be dismissed for the absurdity it is, and that Mr. Salopek’s lack of a visa will be treated as a minor offense.
 

 Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We would appreciate a reply.
 

Respectfully,
Larry Martz
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee

 

cc:

 

Khidir Haroun Ahmed

Charge d’Affaires

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

2310 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20008

Fax: (202) 667-2406

info@sudanembassy.org

 

 

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan

to the United Nations

655 Third Avenue, Suite 500 – 510

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 573-6160

sudan@un.int

 

 

Kelly G. Taylor, Ambassador

Embassy of the United States of America

Ali Abdel Latif St .

Khartoum

Sudan

Fax: 011 249 183 774137