*** UPDATE: English PEN has received news of the release of newspaper editor Moussa Guèye on 9 November 2007. While welcoming his release, PEN remains deeply concerned that the charges against him have not been dropped and that he could face up to five years in prison. PEN requests that the Senegalese authorities take this breach of international human rights standards into consideration and unconditionally drop all charges against Guèye. ***
English PEN protests the arrest of Moussa Guèye, editor of the daily L’Exclusif, on 8 October 2007. He has been charged with ‘insulting the President’ and ‘disseminating false news’, and faces up to five years in prison. PEN is also deeply concerned about the persecution of journalist Justin Ndoye, from the same daily, who is wanted by the police.
In the morning of on 8 October 2007, Moussa Guèye director of the privately owned daily L’Exclusif, based in the city of Rufisque, east of Dakar, was arrested by police officers from the Division of Criminal Investigation (DIC). One week later, Moussa Guèye was charged with ‘disseminating false news’, and ‘insulting the president’ under articles 254, 255 and 270 of the Criminal Code. Reports imply that he is currently detained in Rebeuss prison, in Central Dakar.
On the day of Guèye’s arrest, L’Exclusif published a front page story entitled ‘President Wade’s nocturnal escapades’. Staff of the daily reported that on the same day, police officers entered the newspaper premises, seized paper archives, computers, and printing equipment, and questioned the sales director for two hours. The officers were also looking for Justin Ndoye the author of the article. However, Moussa Guèye refused to give any information about his staff. Recent reports state that Ndoye went into hiding that day.
For more information on the case, see
PEN is campaigning against the use of criminal defamation laws worldwide as a serious threat to freedom of expression. It notes that journalists who are reporting on corruption are particularly liable to be sentenced, and there are fears that such laws are being used to silence legitimate criticism. It considers civil laws that do not bear the threat of imprisonment to be more appropriate avenues through which complaints of libel can be addressed.
Please send appeals:
- Protesting the arrest of Moussa Guèye and harassment of Justin Ndoye;
- Urging the immediate and unconditional release of Moussa Guèye;
- Expressing concern that insult laws in Senegal are being used to silence legitimate criticism of the authorities, and that this case may be a breach of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Senegal is a signatory.
His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade
Office of the President
Republic of Senegal
Fax: 221 33 823 1702
It may be more effective, however, to send your appeal via Senegal’s representative in London:
His Excellency General Mamadou Niang
Embassy of the Republic of Senegal
39 Marloes Road
London W8 6LA
Fax: 020 7938 2546
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/senegaleditorjailedjournalistinhiding/