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Opposition journalists detained for insulting President Ouattara

(MFWA/IFEX) – 28 November 2011 – Two journalists and an administrator for the opposition newspaper "Notre Voie" have been held by police since they were arrested on 24 November for allegedly publishing false information on President Alassane Ouattara.

MFWA's correspondent reported that publisher César Etou and political desk chief Boga Sivori were arrested in connection with a 21 November article that claimed President Ouattara had acquired luxury Mercedes Benz cars for himself and members of his cabinet.

According to the newspaper, "whilst Ivoirians are dying of hunger and disease, Ouattara has offered himself 40 Mercedes at a cost of 1.4 billion CFA francs (1.6 million euros)."

State prosecutor Simplice Kouadio Koffi confirmed Etou and Sivori's arrest.

A third employee of the paper, Didier Dépry, is being held over remarks he allegedly made in the same edition of the paper that the country's currency would be devalued, despite denials by the Central Banks for West and Central Africa.

The state prosecutor has justified the arrest and detention of the three journalists, saying the press code prescribes punishment for people spreading false information liable to make people lose confidence in the country's currency.

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