The Director of Intelligence at the security apparatus on Thursday confirmed requesting Sudan's National Press Council to cancel Aljazeera's office work permit permanently.

In his written request, the intelligence director, accused the Aljazeera channel of  "lying" and "reporting false information on Sudan."

The Sudanese authorities closed the Aljazeera's office and arrested its bureau chief, Islam Salih, on 18 December. One day before the bureau chief's detention, the office was raided by the security forces and Salih was taken in for questioning. During the raid, broadcasting equipment was confiscated.

Aljazeera's office in Khartoum is still closed as requested by the Sudanese National Security Apparatus. Salih who was released on 24 December 2003 is still under interrogation.

Condemnation 

The channel, whose motto is "The opinion and the other opinion", had given government and opposition figures a platform when reporting on Sudan.

Aljazeera had earlier condemned the arrest of its Sudan correspondent. "It is an outrageous state of affairs when a journalist in this day and age is afforded treatment that ought to be reserved to criminals," said Al Jazeera spokesperson Jihad Ballout last week.

Human rights organisations have often condemned Sudan for cracking down on freedom of expression. In its 2003 report on Sudan, Amnesty International said security forces continued to limit media freedoms.

Amnesty added that authorities unlawfully arrested journalists and editors and fined or suspended newspapers. Sanctions were also imposed for publishing articles critical of the government.