Spying Charges: Sudan President to Consider "Geographic" Reporter's Case

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Innocence Defended

Both National Geographic magazine and the Chicago Tribune have issued statements defending Salopek's innocence.

The journalist was reporting on the Sahel, the semiarid fringe of the Sahara that stretches nearly the width of Africa.

His assignment was to elucidate the various factors—human and otherwise—that make life in the Sahel so extraordinary, according to the National Geographic statement.

The Chad-Sudan border region is just a small part of the Sahel.

On Tuesday the Tribune quoted an anonymous State Department official as saying that "any observer can easily see that there's no merit" to the spying charges.

In addition, several media organizations, including Paris, France-based Reporters Without Borders, have called for the immediate release of Salopek and his colleagues.

"Salopek and his assistants are media workers who were acting in strict accordance with the rules of their profession. They should be freed at once," the organization's statement reads.

The trial is scheduled to continue on September 10 in El Fasher in Northern Darfur Province, Sudan.

"We want to see him receive a speedy and fair trail," Casey, the State Department spokesperson, said.

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