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"Le Répère" reporter faces prison sentence and fine if found guilty of criminal defamation; managing editor faces fine and newspaper suspension

(MFWA/IFEX) - Nanankoua Gnamantéh, a reporter with pro-opposition weekly newspaper "Le Répère", faces a prison sentence if found guilty of criminal defamation over an article he wrote in early March 2009.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that on 24 March 2009, when Nanankoua and Eddy Péhé, managing editor of the newspaper, made their appearance in the Plateau Magistrate Court in Abidjan, the state prosecutor requested the court to jail the reporter, impose fines on the two and suspend the newspaper for allegedly insulting President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire.

The correspondent said the state prosecutor requested a 24-month jail term and a fine of 10 million FCFA (approx. US$20,200) for Nanakoma for writing the offending article, a fine of 10 million FCFA for the managing editor, as well as the suspension of the newspaper.

Nanankoua was arrested and detained at Abidjan civil prison on 19 March, following the article on 6 March in the "Le Répère". The article, headlined "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves", linked President Gbagbo and his party officials to acts of corruption.

Updates the Péhé and Gnamantéh cases:

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