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Sudanese president to release journalist



Published: Sat, September 9, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- The president of Sudan agreed to release American journalist Paul Salopek on Saturday after meeting with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a spokesman for the governor said.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune and his Chadian driver and interpreter will be picked up by Richardson in the war-torn Darfur region, where the three were arrested, said Pahl Shipley, a spokesman for the governor.

Salopek, who has a home in New Mexico, was on assignment for National Geographic magazine when he was arrested last month and charged with espionage, passing information illegally, writing "false news" and entering the African country without a visa. His trial was set to begin Sunday.

Richardson said Friday he told President Omar al-Bashir that releasing the three "was the right thing to do."

"Paul Salopek is not a spy; he is my constituent and a respected journalist who was attempting to do his job telling the story of the people, culture and history of the sub-Saharan region known as the Sahel," Richardson said in a statement.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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