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AFP and RFI correspondent completes 100 days in jail

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Rodrigo Angue Nguema, the Malabo correspondent of Agence France-Presse and Radio France Internationale, who has been held in the capital's Black Beach prison for the past 100 days. He was tried on a defamation charge on 1 September 2009 but the court has yet to issue a verdict.

"Held for three months in pre-trial detention and another three weeks since his trial, Nguema still does not know his fate," Reporters Without Borders said. "This long wait is incomprehensible. Imprisonment is a disproportionate punishment for defamation and we urge the authorities to amend the legislation that allows this."

The prosecutor's office did not present charges against Nguema when he appeared at a public hearing in Malabo on 1 September in connection with the defamation action brought against him by the head of the national airline Ceiba, Mamadou Jaye, on 17 June. The court deferred its verdict.

The only journalist in Equatorial Guinea working as a correspondent for international news organisations, Nguema was sued by Jaye over a report that Jaye had embezzled 3.5 billion CFA francs (approx. 5.3 million euros) and skipped the country in April.

Nguema got his information from rumours circulating online, which he thought he had confirmed by talking to local sources, above all at Malabo airport. The story turned out to be wrong and he quickly admitted his mistake.

When a Reporters Without Borders delegation was received in Paris by the ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, Federico Edjo Ovono, on 18 September, the organisation said it would like to visit the country soon.

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