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TV presenter provisionally released after being held for five months

(RSF/IFEX) - 30 December 2011 - RTI presenter Hermann Aboa was released provisionally from Abidjan's main prison this afternoon after five months in detention. He continues to face prosecution on charges of threatening the nation's defences, attacking and conspiring against state authorities, undermining national territorial integrity, participating in an armed band, participating in an insurrectional movement and attacking public order.

Reached by telephone shortly after being freed, Aboa told Reporters Without Borders: “I have just got out. I am on my way home. This evening I will be with my wife, my children and my parents. For the time being, my release is just provisional but I am very happy. I would like to thank you and all the others who supported me.”

“We welcome Aboa's provisional release, a measure that we have been demanding ever since his arrest in July,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It was not right to keep him in prison as the media legislation in effect in Côte d'Ivoire decriminalizes media offences. This is a relief for him and his family.”

Aboa's lawyer, Ayié Niangoran, said: “My client is due to be examined on the substance of the charges in a few days. This is very important. We will finally find out what these proceedings are based on.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “The prosecution must prove the charges against Aboa. If it turns that that he was arrested because of his activities as an RTI journalist, these proceedings must logically be abandoned.”

Another detained journalist, Franck Anderson Kouassi, was also granted a provisional release today. Kouassi used to head the now disbanded National Council for Broadcasting Communication (CNCA), which regulated the broadcast media.

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