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Police raid and seal "24 Heures Chrono", seize edition, arrest editor; cabinet minister's nephew among those arrested for ransacking two newspapers

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 28 August 2008, the Senegalese police stormed the premises of "24 Heures Chrono", a privately-owned, Dakar-based daily newspaper, sealed off its offices and arrested El Malick Seck, the editor-in-chief.

The police also seized the 28 August edition of the publication.

A MFWA correspondent reported that the closure of the "24 Heures Chrono" and the subsequent arrest of its editor followed the lead story of the day linking President Abdoulaye Wade and his son, Abdul Karim Wade, to a case of money laundering.

The article was headlined: "Several Billon Stolen in Côte d'Ivoire; Wade and his son Karim Implicated in A Case of Money Laundering."

In a related development, Farba Senghor, the Minister of Air Transport, who was alleged to have instigated previous attacks on two newspapers, "24 Heures Chrono " and "L'As" was relieved of his duties on 28 August. According to the authorities this was to facilitate investigations into the matter.

On 17 August, the offices of the two privately-owned newspapers were ransacked by a group of men driving vehicles bearing official Senegalese Government registration numbers.

The police have since arrested nine men in connection with the attacks, including Minister Senghor's nephew.

MFWA is deeply concerned about the rate at which journalists of the independent media houses are attacked in Senegal. We view these actions as tantamount to undermining press freedom. MFWA condemns the latest attack on the newspaper and calls for the immediate release of the detained editor.

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