[JURIST] A US journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner [citations] working in Africa on a National Geographic [media website] magazine assignment was charged in a Sudanese court Saturday with espionage, reporting false information and entering the country illegally. Paul Salopek [official profile], a staff reporter for the Chicago Tribune [media website], and two Chad nationals - Salopek's driver and his interpreter - were arrested August 6 after allegedly crossing into the war-torn Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan [JURIST news archive], from Chad without a visa. Both National Geographic and the Chicago Tribune have released statements defending Salopek and appealing for his safe return.
In National Geographic's statement [text], the magazine's editor was quoted as saying:
[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.The Tribune's editor and senior vice president said in its own statement [text]:
Our colleague and dear friend, Paul Salopek, is one of the most accomplished and admired journalists of our time. He is not a spy. Our fervent hope is that the authorities in Sudan will recognize his innocence and quickly allow Paul to return home to his wife, Linda, and to his colleagues.The judge in the case granted the defense motion for a continuance, delaying the trial until September 10. Reuters has more. The Chicago Tribune has additional coverage.