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Website technician gets 45 days in jail for defaming Djibouti police

Reporters Without Borders regards the jail sentence and heavy fine passed yesterday on news website employee Maydaneh Abdallah Okieh as typical of the way the government hounds critics, including journalists, media employees, social networkers and opposition activists.

The prosecutors had nothing on Okieh, who handles the technical aspects of the La Voix de Djibouti website and is in charge of media relations for the National Salvation Union (USN), a coalition of opposition parties. All he did was post images online that embarrassed the police and, by extension, the government.

A Djibouti court yesterday sentenced Okieh to 45 days in prison and a fine of 200,000 Djibouti francs (860 euros) for posting photos on his Facebook page of police breaking up an opposition demonstration. It also ordered him to pay 2 million francs (8,600 euros) in damages.

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