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Former minister sues editor over embezzlement allegations

(JED/IFEX) – JED is calling on N'Djamena's lower court not to "indulge the whims" of former public works minister Taher Sougougi, who has brought a defamation complaint against "N'Djamena Bi Hebdo" newspaper.

Yaldet Begoto Oulatar, the managing editor of the newspaper, was to appear in court on 8 December 2009, but his hearing was postponed to 15 December.

"How can you criticise a journalist who had the courage to expose the misappropriation of public monies within government at a time when all countries – and African countries in particular – are uniting in their efforts to eradicate a scourge that further impoverishes their citizens?" asked JED.

On 9 August, "N'Djamena Bi Hebdo" published an article entitled, "Water minister embezzles 100 million FCFA", implicating Sougoudi in the affair. The minister was fired a few days after the article appeared. Blaming the newspaper for his dismissal, he filed a defamation case against Oulatar, promising to "get even" with the journalist even if he lost the case.

According to Chad's penal code, a journalist named in a defamation case may face penalties ranging from payment of damages to a prison term.

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