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CAR: Judge fines and releases two detained journalists

Bangui judge Jules Gaveaux has ordered the release of news media editors Faustin Bambou and Emmanuel Cyrus Sandy after dismissing criminal charges of “inciting violence and hatred” in a case involving defence minister Jean-Francis Bozizé, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported.

The judge did however on July 11 fine them 300,000 CFA francs (458 euros) on a lesser charge of libelling the minister.

In a phone call after his release, Bambou thanked RSF and the international community. “We felt the strong campaign on our behalf by international organizations, RSF, foreign ministries, the UN and local journalists,” Bambou said. “The pressure and media coverage got the judge to change course and to charge us under the February 2005 Freedom of Communication Law, which is what we had been calling for from the outset.”

Bambou added: “Our release is a happy outcome that we welcome with joy. Nonetheless, a libel conviction is not insignificant. It poses a serious setback to freedom and democracy. We will appeal against it.”

Date posted: July 12, 2011 Last modified: May 12, 2018 Total views: 51