Senegal: Editor jailed; journalist in hiding

*** 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

http://www.ifex.org/fr/content/view/full/87015/

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=23945

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.

Appeals to:

His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade

Office of the President

Avenue Aoume

Dakar

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

Email: mail@senegalembassy.co.uk

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/senegaleditorjailedjournalistinhiding/

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