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US journalist arrested in Sudan: Magazine

National Geographic magazine called Saturday for the release of a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2006 05:18 IST

National Geographic magazine called on Saturday for the release of a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist it said had been arrested in Sudan and charged with spying.

Paul Salopek, also a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, was on assignment for National Geographic in the Darfur region when he, his Chadian driver and Chadian interpreter were arrested, the magazine said in a statement.

On Saturday they were charged in court in El Fashir, North Darfur with criminal espionage, reporting false information and entering Sudan without a visa, it said.

"National Geographic magazine vigorously protests this accusation and appeals to Sudan for his immediate release and the release of two Chadians assisting him," it said.

Salopek "had no agenda other than to fairly and accurately report on the region. He is a world-recognized journalist of the highest standing, with a deep knowledge and respect for the continent of Africa and its people," said National Geographic editor in chief Chris Johns.

A veteran journalist with two Pulitzer Prizes, Salopek, 44, was hired by National Geographic to write a long article on the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa.

National Geographic said that the three men's lawyer had successfully petitioned for a delay with the court Saturday, which then set their trial date for September 10.