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Sudan releases British filmmaker captured in Darfur

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In this picture released by the Sudanese government, Philip Fox leaving a NISS office in Khartoum with the British Ambassador Michael Aron after his release on Wednesday 1 Feb 2017 (ST Photo)
February 1, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Wednesday handed over a British journalist captured in Darfur region to the U.K. embassy in Khartoum as he entered into the country illegally.

Independent filmmaker Philip Cox is the first journalist to report the Darfur crisis to the world through a report broadcast by Channel 4 in early 2004.

The British journalist was released in El-Fasher by the end of January, after a presidential pardon granted by President Omer al-Bashir, according to an information note released in the Sudanese capital on Wednesday.

"Cox entered to the country illegally and his involvement in planned activities harmful to the national security has been proved," said the note adding he was released after signing a written pledge not to repeat the offense.

The British national had been detained in El-Fasher on 21 January and since he was transferred to Khartoum where he was interrogated by the security service.

In the past, the young journalist reached Darfur from Chad with the help of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).

Cox has been released under the request of the British Ambassador Michael Aron who thanked the Sudanese authorities for the gesture.

Several British officials including the Permanent Under-Secretary at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Simon McDonald and UK Special Envoy for Sudan Christopher Trott visited Khartoum recently and vowed to work for the improvement of bilateral relations.

Last Thursday, a Sudanese court has sentenced the Czech filmmaker Petr Jasek to life in prison for espionage. He was accused of spreading false reports about the situation in the Nuba Mountains to tarnish Sudan’s image.

(ST)

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