SUDAN WATCH: Sudan drops MSF charges after international outcry

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sudan drops MSF charges after international outcry

Good news. BBC confirms today charges are to be dropped against two aid workers in Darfur accused of falsifying a report on rape, diplomats say. BBC report extracts:

The arrests led to an international outcry, which the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says seems to have forced the Sudanese government into a u-turn.

In Khartoum, United Nations special envoy Jan Pronk met both the president and foreign minister. He is said to have received assurances that all charges would be dropped.

'Smear campaign'

The BBC's Martin Plaut, who recently travelled to Darfur, says that many Sudanese believe Western aid workers have given information on alleged human rights abuses in Darfur to the United Nations, which has passed a sealed list of 51 war crimes suspects to the International Criminal Court.

On Tuesday, Mr Pronk condemned the "smear campaign" in Sudanese newspapers against aid workers, accusing them of fabricating reports of rape.

Human Rights Watch Africa director Peter Takirambudde said Mr Foreman's arrest was "a perfect illustration of how far the Sudanese government is prepared to go to silence criticism and deny its own responsibility for massive atrocities in Darfur."

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