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After 33 days in prison, journalist freed on bail pending appeal

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Armando Chicoca, a freelance journalist who was sentenced to a year in prison in March 2011 for allegedly defaming the senior judge in the southern city of Namibe, was released on bail of US$2,500 on 7 April pending the outcome of an appeal to the supreme court.

A contributor to the US government's Voice of America radio station, Radio Ecclesia and several independent Angolan magazines, Chicoca spent 33 days in detention.

Chicoca expressed thanks for the support he received while in detention. "I ended up getting privileged treatment compared with the other detainees," he told Reporters Without Borders. "And I feel motivated to continue my work with the same dedication, the same energy and the same firmness, without any bitterness."

"While welcoming Chicoca's release, we are now waiting for his conviction to be quashed on appeal," Reporters Without Borders said. "He acted professionally, asking the head of the Namibe court for his comment before publishing the information about him that was regarded as damaging. The court that tried him took no account of this fact but it is essential for determining whether or not he was guilty of defamation."

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