In a 31 March 2000 letter to Lieutenant-Colonel Saïd Abeïd Abdelemane, WAN and the World Editors Forum (WEF) expressed their serious concern over the arrest of journalist Mohamed Yssouf.
According to reports, on 29 March 2000, Yssouf, the special correspondent for Réseau France Outre-Mer in Anjouan, was arrested while covering municipal elections on the island. WAN and WEF are concerned that his arrest might be related to his reporting on the weak voter turn-out and the island's deteriorating economic situation.
The organisations note that Yssouf is the third journalist arrested in Anjouan this year. On 3 January, Mohamed Boudouri, a reporter for the Comoros government weekly "Al-Watwan", was arrested and detained by Anjouan separatists for four days, and on 17 January, Mohamed Hassane, chief editor of "Al-Watwan", was held for several hours following a press conference.
Send appeals to the lieutenant-colonel:
- respectfully reminding him that if Yssouf's arrest is indeed related to his journalistic activities, it is a clear breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions
- noting that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights considers that "detention, as punishment for the peaceful expression of an opinion, is one of the most reprehensible ways to enjoin silence and, as a consequence, a grave violation of human rights"
- respectfully calling on him to ensure that Yssouf is immediately and unconditionally released from prison
- urging him to ensure that in the future Anjouan fully respects international norms of freedom of expression
His Excellency Lieutenant-Colonel Saïd Abeïd Abdelemane
Please copy appeals to WAN.