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Managing editor of the weekly "L'Archipel" arrested

(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to the president of the republic, Colonel Azaly
Assoumani, RSF demanded the release of Aboubacar Mchangama, an Agence
France-Presse correspondent and managing editor of the private weekly
"L'Archipel". RSF recalled that in a 14 July 1992 document, the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights underlined that as a negative sanction
for the expression of one's opinion, detention constitutes one of the most
reprehensible means of imposing silence. This explains why today, no
democratic state imposes prison sentences in cases involving the press.
Robert Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general, added that "the Federal
Islamic Republic of the Comoros has ratified the African Charter of Human
and Peoples' Rights, Article 9 of which states that each person has the
right to express and share his opinions."

According to the information gathered by RSF, Mchangama, who is also an RSF
correspondent, was arrested on 14 October 1999 by the police force in
Moroni. He is accused of publishing an article in "L'Archipel" which
reviewed the troubled rapport of certain members of the armed forces
vis-à-vis the government. The journalist was questioned on the matter and
was to be referred to the court on 15 October.

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