Sunday, February 8, 2009

Niger: Independent Journalist in Prison

Journalist Boussada Ben Ali was convicted on 6 February of "disseminating false informationlikely to disturb public order" and sentenced to three month imprisonment. He is managing editor of "L'Action", a Niamey-based independent weekly newspaper.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the Niamey Magistrate court which jailed Boussada fined him CFA 50,000 (approx. US$98). Prior to his incarceration, Boussada had been in detention since his arrest on 23 January, following a complaint filed against him by the country's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning over an article in the issue No.44 of "L'Action" published on 13 January.

The article written by Boussada claimed that the minister had diverted part of FCFA 127 billion (approx. US$251 million) from an oil agreement between Niger and China. In the same article, the managing editor also questioned the manner in which the minister awarded a contract supply of medical equipment.

On 2 February, the country's state prosecutor requested a six-month prison term for the journalist.

Updates the Ben Ali case:

For further information, contact Jeannette Quarcoopome, Media Foundationfor West Africa, 30 Duade Street, Kokomlemle, P.O. Box LG 730, Legon,Ghana, tel: +233 21 2424 70, fax: +233 21 2210 84,, Internet:

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