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Journalist Boussada Ben Ali convicted of "disseminating false information likely to disturb public order", sentenced to three month imprisonment

(MFWA/IFEX) - Boussada Ben Ali, managing editor of "L'Action", a Niamey-based independent weekly newspaper accused of "disseminating false information likely to disturb public order" has been convicted of the offence on 6 February 2009 and sentenced to a three month imprisonment.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the Niamey Magistrate court which jailed Boussada fined him CFA 50, 000 (approx. US$98).

Prior to his incarceration, Boussada had been in detention since his arrest on 23 January, following a complaint filed against him by the country's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning over an article in the issue No. 44 of "L'Action" published on 13 January.

The article written by Boussada claimed that the minister had diverted part of FCFA 127 billion (approx. US$251 million) from an oil agreement between Niger and China. In the same article, the managing editor also questioned the manner in which the minister awarded a contract supply of medical equipment.

On 2 February, the country's state prosecutor requested a six-month prison term for the journalist.

Updates the Ben Ali case:

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