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Newspaper editor freed on bail pending trial after court set tough conditions for release

(RSF/IFEX) - Philip Neville, the editor of the privately-owned "Standard Times" daily newspaper, was released from Pademba Road prison late on 3 July 2007 after paying bail. No date has yet been set for his trial.

On 2 July, a Freetown court charged Neville with "libel", "malicious propaganda" and "publishing false news", and set very tough conditions for his provisional release.

The court set bail of 200 million leones (about 50,000 euros) for Neville. It also stipulated that three people would have to stand security for Neville, two of whom would have to own homes in the Western region worth at least 50,000 euros. The bail amount and the property titles of the guarantors were to be deposited with the high court clerk's office before Neville could be freed.

Neville was arrested by plain-clothes police on 28 June after publishing an article accusing President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of keeping quiet about gifts that Sierra Leone had been offered by Libya. Initially held at a police station in the district of Aberdeen, Neville was moved to a crowded cell at police headquarters. After falling ill, he was transferred to Police Kingdom Hospital before appearing in court on 2 July.

Meanwhile, Mamajah "DJ Base" Jalloh, a presenter on the UN radio station in Sierra Leone, has been "invited" for questioning at the headquarters of the investigative police after organising a programme about Col. Gaddafi's alleged gifts.

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