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Czech FM visits Sudan seeking release of jailed filmmaker

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Lubomír Zaorálek (Photo Czech FM)
February 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek will visit Khartoum next Sunday for talks on bilateral relations. Also, he is expected to seek a presidential pardon for a journalist sentenced to life in prison last January.

According to a press statement released Thursday Zaoralek will hold talks with the Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour. Also, he is will "meet senior officials and visits some investment sites".

Further, a Sudanese official who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Sudan Tribune that the visiting minister will request an amnesty for the Christian filmmaker Jasek who is accused of espionage.

On 29 January, a Sudanese court sentenced Jacek to life imprisonment for spying against the Sudan and disseminating reports - via an "American organisation hostile to Sudan" - including alleged persecution of Christians in the country, and the bombardment of civilian populated areas in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State.

The Czech foreign ministry swiftly rejected the ruling of the Sudanese court, pointing that there was no evidence to support his conviction or sentence, according to the Associated Press.

At the time, the Czech foreign ministry said a deputy foreign minister would travel to Sudan in the coming days to try to negotiate Jasek’s release and if necessary, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek is ready to go there, too.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese authorities released a British filmmaker, after a presidential pardon granted by President Omer al-Bashir. Philip Cox who is the first journalist to report the Darfur crisis to the world had been captured in Darfur region as he entered the country illegally.

(ST)