U.S. photographer released after two weeks in custody

New York, May 11, 2005—A U.S. photographer was released from custody yesterday after being detained by Sudanese authorities in Darfur two weeks ago, the U.S. daily The Hartford Courant reported today.

Sudanese security forces detained Brad Clift on April 26 while he was taking photographs at an internally displaced persons camp outside Nyala, capital of Darfur’s southern state. Clift works for The Hartford Courant but was in Sudan as a freelancer traveling with the relief group, Hartford Catholic Worker, which was distributing food at camps around Nyala.

Authorities accused Clift of working without the proper permit, but charges were never filed against him. Clift arrived in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, yesterday and is expected back in the United States in the coming days, The Courant reported. His passport and equipment, which had been confiscated during his detention, were returned.

While in custody, Clift was held under house arrest at the U.S. Agency for International Development office.

Since the conflict in Darfur broke out in early 2003, tens of thousands of people from western Sudan have been killed by government-supported militias, and up to two million displaced from their homes. Sudanese authorities have tried to suppress reports of atrocities there by obstructing the work of foreign journalists who cover the region, according to CPJ research.