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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sudan Convicts Slovenian Envoy of Spying in Darfur

Tue, 15 Aug 2006, 00:39

Sudan sentenced a Slovenian presidential envoy to two years in prison in Darfur for espionage, publishing false information and violating immigration laws, the state news agency said on Aug. 14.

Slovenia has hosted talks to try to win over rebel groups that refused to join a peace deal in May between the government and one rebel faction. Envoy Tomo Kriznar was arrested in July in Darfur for not having a correct visa.

"The court sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 dinars ($2,350) and confiscation of exhibits found with the defendant of photography equipment and films," Sudan’s state news agency quoted Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardi as saying.

An African Union (AU) source in Darfur said the Slovenian envoy had entered through neighboring Chad and had been traveling with Darfur rebel groups, taking video footage and photographs.

The AU has a 7,000-strong force monitoring a shaky truce in Darfur.

Tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes in more than three years of rape, killing and pillage in the region.
The rebel factions that did not sign the May accord said it did not meet their basic demands of fair compensation for war victims and enough political representation in Khartoum.

Renegade commanders from the rebel Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) united with former Darfur governor Ahmed Ibrahim Diraige to form the National Redemption Front (NRF), which attacked a Sudanese town just outside Darfur in June.

Immediately prior to forming their alliance, the JEM leaders and Diraige had been in intense closed-door talks with the Slovenian president in Ljubljana.
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