Sudanese journalist face prison for libel

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KHARTOUM, Nov 18 (Reuters) Two Sudanese journalists have been convicted of publishing an article criticising security services for detaining four other journalists, their colleagues said today.

Al-Fatih Mahjoub Irwaha, editor in chief of Arabic daily Al-Sudani, and his deputy and columnist Nurelden Madini, are facing two months in prison after refusing to pay a fine for defamation, staff at the newspaper said.

Sudan's National Intelligence Service said it had been libelled by the paper.

The Al-Sudani article discussed the detention of four other writers who were covering protests about the Kajbar dam project in northern Sudan in July.

Al-Sudani's news editor Yasser Abdalah criticised the court's decision saying it would ''undermine journalism and obstruct our work''.

The head of the Sudanese Journalist Union, Muhi Elden Tetawi, said he had been informed about the case and was now trying to persuade the two journalists to pay their fines of 10,000 Sudanese pounds (5,000 dollar) each.

The two journalists, who appeared in court today.

refused to pay the fine, saying they would rather be imprisoned, family members told Reuters. They added the court sent the two to prison for two days to give them time to reconsider.

No one was immediately available for comment from Sudan's Justice Ministry.

Reuters PY RS2134

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