KHARTOUM, April 28 (Reuters) – A court appearance for a U.S. photographer arrested in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region was cancelled on Thursday because the judge did not show up, the U.S. embassy in Khartoum said in a statement.
Bradley Clift, who works for the Hartford Courant newspaper, was arrested two days ago in Nyala in South Darfur, while taking photograghs in a camp for people who fled the fighting in the war-torn region.
Clift told his paper he was “unjustly arrested for trying to do something good”. He remains under house arrest at a guesthouse belonging to the aid agency SudanAid, the embassy said.
“Mr. Clift continues to convey to consular officials that he is well,” the statement said. “He was to appear in court today for arraignment but the judge did not show.”
It said it was not aware if a new court date had been set.
The embassy statement said Clift told consular officials he entered Sudan on a tourist visa and did not have a permit to travel to Darfur.
Sudan has strict procedures to control the movement of journalists throughout Africa’s largest country. They are required to enter with a journalist’s visa to obtain press passes to work.
They also need special permits to travel almost anywhere outside the capital Khartoum.
The Hartford Courant said Clift had travelled to Sudan as a free lancer because the paper had decided not to assign someone to the region.
A rebellion in Darfur since early 2003 has killed tens of thousands and forced more than 2 million from their homes to live in squallid camps. One of the world’s largest humanitarian operations is under way in the remote western region.