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Court rejects journalist's appeal

(JED/IFEX) - On 27 July 2009, a Mbandaka appeal court confirmed the six-month sentence handed down by a lower court to Bienvenu Yay, an independent journalist and the Mbandaka correspondent for the Kinshasa-based, private television station Congoweb TV. The court also ordered Yay to pay damages of US$500 for slandering José Makila, deposed governor of Équateur province. Mbandaka is located in the northeastern province of Équateur.

Yay was accused of broadcasting a slanderous report, on 21 January 2009, about Makila's house arrest following an investigation into the misappropriation of funds intended for teachers' salaries. Makila filed a complaint, claiming that the information in the broadcast was inaccurate and that he was never placed under house arrest.

Following the former governor's complaint against the journalist, on 20 February, the court sentenced Yay to 6 months' imprisonment and a fine of US$2,500 in damages. Yay's lawyer immediately filed an appeal.

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