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President Gbagbo demands "outrageous compensation" following publication of articles accusing him of corruption

(MFWA/IFEX) - Lawyers of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo are seeking exorbitant compensation for defamation from five journalists of two pro-opposition dailies which if granted by the court, could result in the newspapers getting bankrupt.

The lawyers made the request on 26 September 2007 at the resumed trial of the journalists before a Plateau Magistrate's court in Abidjan.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that, while Adje Luc, counsel to the President and his wife requested an amount of 150 million FCFA (approx. US$323,806) from each defendant as compensation, the country's Attorney General, Tehimou Raymods also asked for FCFA 20 million (approx. US$43,174) each as damages.

Seydou Coulibaly and Alexis Noume, managing editor and reporter respectively of "Le Jour Plus" are charged with libeling President Laurent Gbagbo, while the other three, Assouan N'Gueeta, Paul Arnaud Digbeu and Laure Gozo, managing editor and reporters respectively of "Le Rebond" newspaper are similarly charged.

The two newspapers belonging to RDR (Rassemblement des Republicains) of Alassane Dramane Ouattara published two different articles accusing President Gbabo and functionaries of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front Party (FPI) of corruption.

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