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"Le Quotidien" journalists interrogated

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 28 August 2009, three journalists of the Dakar-based privately-owned "Le Quotidien" newspaper were grilled by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Senegalese police over a publication that accused President Abdoulaye Wade and his delegation of spending lavishly on a trip to Switzerland.

Aminatou M. Diop, the newspaper's editorial coordinator, Mohamed Guèye, head of the economic and finance desk, and Soro Diop, head of the political desk, were summoned at about 4 p.m. GMT and questioned till about 11 p.m. GMT the same day.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the interrogation of the journalists followed the publication of two front-page articles in the 22 and 29 August editions of the paper. In the 22 August article, Soro Diop alleged that President Wade held a crisis meeting in Switzerland to respond to a book written by Latif Coulibaly. The second article written by Mohamed Guèye also accused President Wade of being insensitive to the plight of the Senegalese by enjoying his time abroad while the people of Senegal had to endure frequent power outages.

The correspondents said that during the interrogation, the CID demanded documentary evidence and threatened that they would be prosecuted on a criminal charge of publishing "false information” if they failed to give an undertaking to stop reporting on the matter and to disclose their sources of information.

The editors stood by their stories and refused to yield to the demand of the interrogators.

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