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Journalist released from prison after paying heavy fine

(JED/IFEX) - JED expresses its satisfaction following the 13 January 2010 release of Jean Bosco Talla, publication director of "Germinal," a privately-owned weekly based in the capital Yaoundé. JED welcomes the decision of the Cameroon prison authorities, who did not invent a pretext to prolong unduly Talla's time in prison. However, JED finds the amount of the fine demanded from the journalist for his release to be excessive.

Talla has just spent a month in Kondengui prison in Yaoundé, where he was detained for "insulting" President Paul Biya. On the afternoon of 13 January, Talla's lawyers paid the court clerk's office the sum of 3,154,000 CFA Francs (approx. US$6,800) so that he would be released.

Talla was prosecuted for "insulting" the president of the republic following his newspaper's publication of an extract from a book by Ebale Angounou, entitled "Sang pour Sang" (Blood for Blood), which spoke of homosexuality at the highest levels of the state.

The journalist was sentenced on 28 December 2009 to a one-year prison term, suspended for three years, along with a fine of 3,154,000 CFA Francs, including legal fees.
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