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Editor freed after receiving presidential pardon

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders hails Faustin Bambou's release on 23 February 2008 following an announcement on the national radio station that he had been pardoned by President François Bozizé. The editor of the privately-owned weekly "Les Collines de l'Oubangui", Bambou spent six weeks in prison.

He was sentenced to six months in prison on 28 January on charges of "libel", "insult" and "incitement to revolt" over a 21 December 2007 article claiming that two government ministers received seven billion CFA francs (approx. 10 million euros) in commissions from the French nuclear energy company Areva.

"Bambou's release is a relief but we remind the authorities that he should never have been imprisoned," Reporters Without Borders said. "He was the victim of bad faith and legal manoeuvring to circumvent the fact that, under the country's laws, journalists are not supposed to be jailed for press offences."

The 23 February presidential decree granted Bambou "a complete remission of sentence." He told Reporters Without Borders he was freed at about 2:00 p.m. (local time) the same day. His lawyers have withdrawn his appeal.

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