Photojournalist Bradley Clift Released From Sudan, Tells Story Of Ordeal, Refugees, In Hartford Courant

May 18, 2005

The Hartford Courant's photojournalist Bradley E. Clift was released by Sudanese government authorities last week after being held under house arrest near Nyala in Darfur since April 26, and he made his way to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and then flew home to the States. The story of Clift's ordeal and what the photojournalist saw in the refugee camps has been written by Courant reporter Rinker Buck and published in the newspaper.

"Close-Up Of A Humanitarian Crisis" tells how the Sudanese government has gone to great lengths to keep the world from seeing the condition of up to as many as 2 million people who have been displaced and terrorized by the government-supported militia in Darfur, and it documents Clift's first-person account of being arrested while documenting the efforts of international relief workers to help refugees.

Clift, 47, was arrested by Sudanese security forces was being held while waiting for a hearing on charges that he was taking pictures in Darfur without the proper travel and photography permits, the Courant reported last week .

Authorities apparently decided not to formally charge Clift and he was released Tuesday May 10, and his passport and photography equipment was returned to him before he left for Khartoum. Two weeks ago Clift told State Department officials that he traveled to Darful legally under the auspices of the Sudanese Bishops' Conference to photograph relief workers assisting refugees. After Clift was arrested, theCourant also had reported that Clift traveled to Africa to meet up with a relief group from the Hartford Catholic Worker, a ministry that was distributing food at refugee camps in Western Darfur, near the town of Nyala.

An NPPA member since 1978, Clift was working as a freelance photojournalist documenting the plight of the refugees in Sudan when he was detained and placed under house arrest by Sudanese security forces in Darfur. The Courant's assistant managing editor for photography and graphics, Thom McGuire, said after Clift was detained that the photojournalist had traveled to Darfur as a freelancer after the newspaper considered, and then decided against, an assignment in the region that’s been brutalized by civil war for more than two years.

Clift was a nominated finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature photography in 2003 for “Heroin Town,” a dramatic photographic essay that helped produce positive change by spotlighting heroin addiction in a Connecticut city . In 1987, he won an honorable mention in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards program for a Courant series called "Stevie's World of Pride." Clift has won many national and international photography awards, and is known for traveling to international hot spots and documenting the plights of war victims and refugees.