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Judge orders automatic seizure of newspaper's issues

(RSF/IFEX) - On 3 December 2009, a court in N'Djamena ordered the automatic seizure of all issues published by the privately-owned weekly "La Voix".

"We condemn this baseless decision, which reflects a desire to close the newspaper," Reporters Without Borders said. "The interior ministry's threats have unfortunately been carried out."

"This is a political decision, one that is marred by irregularities," said one of the newspaper's lawyers, Jean-Bernard Padaré. "La Voix" hopes to continue publishing.

The court could not legally order the newspaper's closure so it issued the automatic seizure order because the effect would be the same. The grounds given by the judge was the absence of an editor. In fact, "La Voix" does have an editor - Innocent Ebodé, a Cameroonian citizen who was deported on 14 October although there were no grounds for his deportation.

Reporters Without Borders has been told that Ebodé is now on his way back to Chad with the aim of challenging this decision.

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