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Court convicts police officer for assaulting journalists

(MFWA/IFEX) - One of four policemen who were charged with assaulting two sports journalists, Kara Thioune of West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) and Babacar Kambel Diang of Radio Futurs Médias (RFM), in 2008 was, on 26 November 2010, found guilty of "assault" and "battery" and handed a one-month suspended sentence.

A Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that the court awarded Kambel Diang, who filed the case, 750,000 CFA Francs (approx. US$1,500) in damages. Kara Thioune, who bled profusely after the attack, did not join the suit.

The four police officers led by Lamdou Dioune and drawn from the Multi Strike Force Unit of the Senegalese police force assaulted the two reporters on 21 June 2008 at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium during a post-match interview.

The country's minister of interior initially cleared his subordinates of any wrongdoing. A police enquiry, however, later found them guilty of the offence.

MFWA sources reported at the time that the policemen punched, kicked and beat the two reporters with an electric baton and handcuffed and detained them for about half an hour, before sending them to a hospital for medical attention.

MFWA welcomes this development, especially as it will help journalists in the country to work without fear or intimidation.

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