May 1, 2011 / 4:17 PM / in 7 years

Sudan police confiscate Sunday edition of paper-editor

* Sudan newspaper’s entire Sunday edition confiscated-editor

* Media crackdown in Sudan ahead of south split

KHARTOUM, May 1 (Reuters) - Sudanese security forces confiscated the entire Sunday edition of an independent newspaper, its editor said, in a crackdown on media before the oil-producing south secedes following decades of civil war.

Sudan’s constitution guarantees press freedom but several journalists have been detained without charge in recent months and papers are often subject to direct censorship.

“Police came after midnight and took all copies after we had printed it. They gave no explanation,” said Osman Murghni, editor of Al-Tayar newspaper.

He said authorities had not informed the newspaper why the edition was taken and he said it was probably to show its disapproval of coverage of Monday’s elections in South Kordofan.

Elections in the state, a region containing much of north Sudan’s future oil production but where the southern ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has strong support, has provoked security fears for the north’s dominant National Congress Party.

Sudan’s security forces were not immediately available to comment on the confiscation of the newspaper, a move which inflicts substantial financial damage on the publication.

Last month two opposition newspapers said they would suspend publication after authorities confiscated editions of their newspapers. [ID:nMCD960461]

Human rights groups have expressed concern at a crackdown on freedoms in Sudan’s north ahead of the south’s secession. Small anti-government protests have been crushed by police and activists have been arrested and tortured, they said. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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