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Media workers handed 3-year suspended prison sentences in Chad

Reporters Without Borders condemns the suspended sentence of three years in prison that a N'Djamena court passed yesterday on the writer and blogger Jean Etienne Laokolé and Union of Chadian Journalists general secretary Eric Topona, who used to work for the national radio broadcaster.

The court convicted them on charges of defamation and “abortive conspiracy against public order.” These were less serious than the original charges, which included conspiring to overthrow the government.

“Laokolé and Topona, who have been held for more than 100 days, are innocent and should be released immediately and unconditionally along with fellow journalist Moussaye Avenir de la Tchiré, who is still awaiting trial,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“This sentence, which shows how the Chadian authorities persecute independent news providers, is a serious threat to freedom of expression and information in Chad.”

De La Tchiré, who is treasurer of the Union of Chadian Journalists and publishes the newspaper Abba Garde, is still being held at Amsinene military camp in N'Djamena. Arrested on 7 May, he is facing trial on charges of inciting hatred and inciting a popular uprising.

The lawyers who represent Laokolé and Topona told Reporters Without Borders they will appeal against yesterday's verdict.

More information about the case.

Sign the Reporters Without Borders petition for the release of these three news providers.

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