Thursday, September 07, 2006

Governor Richardson to Make Plea in Sudan

I would post a PHOTO here, but Blogger is not cooperating....

WASHINGTON -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will fly to Sudan's capital on Thursday to urge the African country's president to release imprisoned Chicago Tribune correspondent Paul Salopek on humanitarian grounds, the governor's office announced.

In what Richardson's office described as a "positive and hopeful" development, the governor received a formal invitation this week to meet with President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.

The invitation followed Richardson's dinner last week in Washington with Sudan's ambassador to the U.S., Khidir Haroun Ahmed, whom the Democratic governor befriended a decade ago when he negotiated the return of American hostages held by Sudanese rebels."

Paul Salopek is clearly not a spy," Richardson said in announcing the trip. "He's my constituent and he is a talented and 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. I will encourage President al-Bashir to recognize the essential role of journalists and release Paul and his colleagues on humanitarian grounds."


Salopek was working as a freelance journalist for National Geographic in Sudan. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, and got his start in journalism when his motorcycle broke down in Roswell, NM, and he took a job at the local paper to earn money for repairs.

Best of luck, Governor Richardson, we believe you can secure this man's freedom.

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