On March 19, 2015, around 8pm local time, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Guinea Bissau arrested Danilson Lopes Ferreira, a musician and editor of the blog Doka Internacional- O DENÚNCIANTE for “libel, slander and insulting language.”
The MFWA’s correspondent in Guinea-Bissau reported that the editor’s arrest was reported by a group of citizens who issued a press release accusing the Prime Minister, Domingos Simões Pereira, of ordering the Minister of Justice, Carmelita Pires, to arrest Ferreira.
“The detention of Doka is absolutely illegal and improper. It is a violation of the criminal procedure code because no citizen can be arrested between 7pm and 7am, except where the offender is caught in the act,” the statement said.
According to MFWA’s correspondent, Ferreir’s arrest is based on publications on his blog in which he criticised Prime Minister Pereira.
Following last year’s decision by the African Court in Konaté v. Burkina Faso—which held that imprisonment for defamation violates freedom of expression—all African Union member states must reform their criminal defamation laws. Therefore, the MFWA urges Guinea-Bissau to review its criminal defamation law with a view to reforming and repealing it in accordance with the Konaté judgment.