Sudan charges opposition journalist with terrorism

Sudan has charged a detained opposition journalist with terrorism and espionage and he has been tortured in custody, his lawyers said on Tuesday.

U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch condemned the arrest earlier this month of opposition Islamist Hassan al-Turabi and four staff of his al-Rai al-Shaab paper, mouthpiece of Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP).

The rights group urged Khartoum to end repression of opposition politicians and press launched after an April election returned President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) to power.

PCP lawyer Mohamed al-Alim said the deputy editor in chief of the paper, Abu Zur al-Amin, had been charged with terrorism, espionage and destabilizing the constitutional system.

Al-Alim said the other three newspaper staff had not been charged so far and Turabi “has not even been questioned.”

The government has accused Turabi of directing rebel attacks in the strife-ridden Darfur region.

The PCP sent Reuters a picture of al-Amin’s back, with a large bruise which his brother said was the result of security forces beating him. Al-Amin remains isolated in police custody.

A security source denied any torture had occurred. “This absolutely does not happen,” the source said.

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