Niger UPDATE: Newspaper editor jailed

Ibrahim Manzo, Managing editor of the weekly L’Autre Observatuer newspaper sentenced to a one-month suspended prison term by a Niamey Magistrate Court for defamation. He was also fined 50,000 CFA Francs (approximately US $ 92). In addition, he was asked to pay a nominal 1 CFA Franc (less than 1US cent) to the complainant Moussa Dan Foulani, a businessman and a personal friend of Niger President Mamadou Tandja Momodou.

Manzo had been in detention since his arrest upon a summons by the State Prosecutor on February 02. His arrest followed a report of a trial of an armed robber in the December 5, 2005 edition of the L’Autre Observatuer, who allegedly accused Dan Foulani of having sold to him the arms he used in the attempted robbery.On February 06, at the editor’s first appearance in Court, the State Prosecutor prayed the Court for a two- month prison term and 50,000 CFA Francs (approximately US $ 92).

There has been general condemnation of Manzo’s arrest and detention with the latest protest coming from Oumarou Keita Lalo, General Secretary of the Association of Private Media Journalists of Niger (UJPN), who argued that the editor had spent “18 days in prison for nothing”.

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