Al Hurra journalist escapes second murder attempt

first_imgNews News Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan News Organisation Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders called for an end to the impunity with which journalists are being targeted in Iraq after Omar Mohammed, of US-run Arabic satellite channel al Hurra, escaped a second murder attempt after being ambushed in central Baghdad.Mohammed was fired on by gunmen who had lain in wait for him as he left his office on 11 December. He escaped with a bullet wound to the left leg for which he received hospital treatment. He survived a first murder attempt in 2004, when his house came under a grenade attack.“This journalist was extremely lucky, but he nonetheless remains in serious danger. As a well-known Sunni journalist and working for a US media, he is a target for some extremist groups,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. Mohammed is also a prominent journalist on the local version of the channel, founded in 2005, al Hurra-Iraq,“We once again urge President Jalal Talabani to tackle impunity and send a strong message by opening thorough investigations to find and punish those carrying out attacks on journalists”, the organisation said.Witnesses said that Mohammed’s assailants were able to leave the scene of the shooting with no trouble, as police officers in the vicinity apparently did nothing to intervene.At least 94 journalists and 45 media workers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the conflict. Of these 118 have been Iraqi nationals. Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” December 28, 2020 Find out more News IraqMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en December 16, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Iraq A journalist working for US-run Arabic satellite channel al Hurra escaped a second murder attempt in Baghdad on 11 December 2006. He survived a grenade attack on his home in 2004. December 14, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Al Hurra journalist escapes second murder attempt RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” to go further IraqMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information February 15, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Journalists on public TV allowed to resume work, under the orders of army general

first_img Organisation The worldwide press freedom organisation however deplored the appointment of retired general, Sunil Silva, a close associate of the presidential family, as deputy general director of the SLRC, a post especially created for him.“This appointment of a military figure as a media head, unprecedented for decades, will obstruct presidential plans for the state-run press” it added.Despite President Mahinda Rajapakse’s meeting with corporation representatives no steps have been taken to protect employees or to punish those responsible for five physical assaults on staff attributed to henchmen of Labour Minister, Mervyn Silva.The minister was involved in a further incident on 19 March, when he threatened a crew from Sirasa TV, which was covering the construction of a bridge in Kelaniya, near Colombo.“This time I am just lifting a finger, but next time I will lift my hand, if you come back,” the minister shouted at the journalists. The head of Sirasa TV has reported the incident to the Inspector General of Police, Victor Perrera.Mervyn Silva has a history of open hostility towards journalists and led a brutal raid against SLRC staff on 27 December 2007. Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists The takeover of the television station caused disruption to most programmes and in the aftermath the information ministry announced “compulsory vacations” for all staff. The corporation’s union representatives said that the authorities had decided to take control of the SLRC, in response to the strike threat. One union representative, Kanchana Marasinghe, said that many journalists feared for their lives and wanted the brutality brought to an end.At least five staff have been physically assaulted in the past few weeks, some of them suffering serious knife wounds. All of them had protested at the actions of the labour minister, Mervyn Silva, who led a raid on the studios and assaulted the SLRC’s news director on 27 December 2007.The controversial minister’s henchmen are suspected of being behind all the attacks on staff, in the latest of which, assistant director of supplies, Arunasiri Hettige, was beaten with iron bars in Colombo on 14 March.Representatives of the corporation met the head of state on 17 March to discuss steps needed to protect staff. They called for the resignation of Mervyn Silva and for payment of compensation to the injured journalists. During the meeting, the head of state called on the minister to end the violence.Elsewhere, the homes in Colombo of two well-known journalists, Sunethra Athugalpura of the newspaper Lakbima and Sashi Kumara of Sirasa TV, were burgled and ransacked in mysterious circumstances, on 16 March. Sunethra Athugalpura had recently interviewed Mervyn Silva. Help by sharing this information News Sri LankaAsia – Pacific Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge RSF_en News Reporters Without Borders noted on 20 March the withdrawal of security forces from the premises of state-run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), allowing journalists to resume work.The police and army seized control of the corporation on 17 March and locked out staff that had been planning strike action in protest against a series of politically-motivated assaults against the corporation’s employees. March 20, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalists on public TV allowed to resume work, under the orders of army general Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trial to go further Sri LankaAsia – Pacific News Follow the news on Sri Lanka News 18.03.2008 – Army seizes control of public SLRC televisionReporters Without Borders today called for an explanation from President Mahinda Rajapakse after the army took control yesterday of public Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) television.The army and police sealed off all roads leading to the station in the morning, preventing more than 200 staff from getting to work, a BBC correspondent reported, after employees threatened to strike in protest against a series of assaults by men “suspected of acting on behalf of a minister”.“The head of state should immediately order the army to withdraw from the station. This is in no way a good solution for ending escalating violence against SLRC staff since December 2007”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.“We urge the president to sanction the minister, Mervyn Silva, who is behind the violence which provoked this crisis.” July 29, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts January 13, 2021 Find out more July 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Crews working for CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera attacked by plain-clothes police

first_img RSF_en Help by sharing this information Crews working for CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera were attacked by plain-clothes police, who smashed their equipment. Newscenter_img Organisation January 28, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Crews working for CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera attacked by plain-clothes policelast_img

Government reverses decision to expel RTP bureau chief

first_img Guinea BissauAfrica Organisation Reporters Without Borders is pleased to learn that the government has reversed its decision to expel Radio-Télévision Portugaise bureau chief Fernando Gomes and has promised RTP to guarantee his safety in the face of all the threats that have been made against him by soldiers.The media freedom organization hopes that this decision will also mark the end of the harassment to which all the media have been subjected in Guinea-Bissau.—–02.11.2012 – RTP bureau chief deported amid army threats against journalistsReporters Without Borders condemns Guinea-Bissau’s expulsion of Fernando Gomes, the Bissau bureau chief of Portugal’s state-owned Radio-Télévision Portugaise (RTP), and voices alarm about the current poisonous environment for the media in this West African country.A Portuguese national, Gomes was due to return to Lisbon today after being told he was no longer welcome and after a high-ranking military officer threatened to personally kill troublesome journalists at a news conference three days ago.Gomes’ expulsion comes at a time of tension between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau’s transitional government, which has accused the former colonial power of orchestrating an attack on a military barracks in Bissau on 21 October with the aim of restoring ousted former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior.RTP’s bureau chief is accused of “hostile coverage” of the transition government, which was installed in the wake of a 12 April military coup that toppled the Gomes Junior government between the first and second rounds of a presidential election.Reached by Reporters Without Borders, Gomes said he was not notified of his expulsion directly but was told by RTP’s management, which received a letter to this effect on 29 October from government spokesman and communication minister Fernando Vaz.Agence France-Presse quoted a fellow RTP journalist as saying: “Gomes just did his job. He was berated and insulted several times while out reporting.” AFP said Gomes was particularly harassed by soldiers during the arrest of Capt. Pensau N’Tchama, the 21 October attack’s alleged mastermind, on 27 October in Bolama, on one of the Bijagos islands.“We are sick with fear,” a Bissau-based journalist told Reporters Without Borders. During a news conference on 30 October at the armed forces high command, the chief of staff said: “Any journalist who asks questions about former President Nino Vieira’s assassination will not leave this barracks alive. I will kill him. We are at war.”Reporters Without Borders is shocked by these direct threats and the climate of terror they create, and calls on the authorities to immediately end this policy of intimidating journalists.“Inciting fear with the aim of obtaining muted and uncritical media coverage is completely inappropriate from a government that is preparing to hold elections in April 2013,” Reporters Without Borders added. “Media pluralism and independence must be respected, and journalists’ safety must be guaranteed.”Read also Reporters Without Borders’ reports : – “Muscling in on the media” – a Reporters Without Borders look at organized crime- Cocaine and coups haunt gagged nationPhoto : Defence minister Celestino de Carvalho berates Fernando Gomes in Bissau on 21 October. News RSF_en January 29, 2021 Find out more to go further News Follow the news on Guinea Bissau Guinea Bissau: attack by gunmen silences opposition radio station in Bissau Guinea-Bissau: reporter beaten by policeman while covering Covid protest center_img November 5, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government reverses decision to expel RTP bureau chief News April 6, 2020 Find out more News Guinea BissauAfrica Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent July 27, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information Receive email alertslast_img read more

Swedish journalists arrested in Ethiopia after leaving Somalia, Somali journalist threatened with extradition to Ethiopia

first_img Ethiopia arbitrarily suspends New York Times reporter’s accreditation News May 21, 2021 Find out more News RSF_en Help by sharing this information EthiopiaAfrica News Receive email alerts RSF condemns NYT reporter’s unprecedented expulsion from Ethiopia to go furthercenter_img EthiopiaAfrica News Reporters Without Borders condemns the apparent complicity between the Ethiopian authorities and those in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northeastern region of Puntland in arresting journalists and trying to gag the media.Two Swedish journalists, reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, were arrested after crossing from Puntland into Ethiopia’s troubled Ogaden region and covering rebel activity there, while a Somali journalist originally from the Ogaden, Faysal Mohamed Hassan, is reportedly now facing possible extradition to Ethiopia after being sentenced to a year in prison in Bossasso, Puntland’s commercial capital.“The authorities in Addis Ababa must clarify the circumstances of the arrest of the two Swedish journalists and provide information about their current status,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We must insist that journalists cannot be treated as rebels just because they were covering rebel activity.”“We urge the Ethiopian government to guarantee access to the Ogaden for journalists and human rights activists. The news blackout that has been imposed on what is taking place in this region is outrageous. It forces journalists to enter the region illegally and just fuels suspicion that terrible human rights violations are taking place there.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We also deplore the sentence imposed on Hassan and we are concerned to learn that the Puntland authorities may be considering his extradition simply because of his ethnic origin, although he is a Somali journalist who works in Somalia. They are apparently trying to get rid of him and to send him to a region where he is liable to be persecuted.”Schibbye and Persson, who work for the Kontinent news agency, were arrested by the Ethiopian authorities after crossing into the Ogaden illegally to investigate reports of human rights violations. Shortly before their arrest, they sustained injuries in a clash between Ethiopian government forces and armed rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), in which 15 rebels were killed. The two journalists are now being held in Jijiga. The ONLF claims that the Puntland authorities spotted them at Galkayo airport and followed them to the Ethiopian border in order to facilitate their arrest by the Ethiopian authorities.Anna Roxvall, a Swedish journalist who is friend of the two detained journalists, said they entered the Ogaden to investigate reports of atrocities by the Ethiopian armed forces against the local population. “They are in a region that is closed to journalists but they entered from Somalia,” she said. “They are in an extremely dangerous region.”Hassan, who reports for the Hiiran Online news website, was given the one-year jail sentence on 2 July after being convicted on charges of endangering Puntland’s security and reporting false information under articles 215 and 219 of the Somali criminal code for writing about the murder of two alleged members of the Puntland security forces in Bossasso.His defence lawyer accused Judge Sheik Aden Aw Ahmed of convicting Hassan although Bari district court prosecutor Bashir Mohamed Osman failed to produce any real evidence against him. The authorities seem to have it in for Hassan, who is now being held in the main Bossasso prison, because they are reportedly considering his extradition to Ethiopia solely because he comes from an Ogaden ethnic group. To follow :Kontinent agencyHiiran Online February 10, 2021 Find out more Journalist attacked, threatened in her Addis Ababa home May 18, 2021 Find out more Organisation Follow the news on Ethiopia July 5, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Swedish journalists arrested in Ethiopia after leaving Somalia, Somali journalist threatened with extradition to Ethiopia last_img read more

Brazil. Blogger gunned down on street in Rio de Janeiro state

first_img Follow the news on Brazil Help by sharing this information BrazilAmericas Condemning abuses Citizen-journalistsFreedom of expressionViolence April 15, 2021 Find out more 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies RSF_en May 15, 2020 Brazil. Blogger gunned down on street in Rio de Janeiro state to go further Facebook / Reprodução News News News Alarm after two journalists murdered in Brazil Rio de Janeiro state is extremely dangerous for journalists. In the coastal city of Maricá, two journalists were murdered in similar circumstances in the space of a month in 2019 for motives that are still unclear. Receive email alerts Brazil is ranked 107th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. “Araruama’s authorities must investigate this blogger’s murder thoroughly and not neglect the possibility that it was linked to his journalism,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “The Covid-19 crisis and its political impact mean that the protection and safety of news providers are more essential than ever. Both the local and federal authorities must do everything possible to guarantee them.” Leonardo Pinheiro, a very active and outspoken Brazilian blogger, has been gunned down in Araruama, a small town in the interior of Rio de Janeiro state. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the local authorities to investigate his execution-style murder thoroughly and not rule out the possibility that it was linked to his blogging. Reports April 27, 2021 Find out more The local police have not as yet said anything about the possible motives for Pinheiro’s murder. BrazilAmericas Condemning abuses Citizen-journalistsFreedom of expressionViolence RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America Organisation The founder of a local news blog on Facebook called A Voz Araruamense (Voice of Araruama), Leonardo Pinheiro was interviewing local residents on a street in the town’s Bananeiras district on the afternoon of 13 May when several shots were fired at him from a car that had just approached. When the police arrived a few minutes later, all they could do was confirm his death. In his blog and in another local news page on Facebook called Fala Araruama to which he contributed, Pinheiro was openly critical of the municipal government and local officials, questioning the benefits of the Covid-19 lockdown and campaigning for local businesses to be allowed to reopen. He was very involved in local politics and had just announced that he planned to run for the Patriota party in the 2020 municipal elections in Araruama. May 13, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Hrant Dink murder trial – where are the state’s records?

first_img RSF_en News July 19, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Help by sharing this information Hrant Dink murder trial – where are the state’s records? to go further April 2, 2021 Find out more Following the 14th hearing in the trial of the men accused of the January 2007 murder of Hrant Dink, a journalist of Armenian origin, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for the Dink family and its lawyers in their continuing battle for a fair trial.During the latest hearing, held on 12 July, the Dink family’s lawyers filed a request for the prosecution of several senior officials and leading nationalists, including:- Ergun Güngör, former deputy governor of Istanbul- Özer Yilmaz, former deputy chief of the of the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) in the Istanbul region- Levent Temiz, former head of a Turkish nationalist group called “Ülkü Ocaklari” (Idealist Centre)- Erhan Tmuroglu, who is charged in connection with an alleged conspiracy by an ultra-nationalist network called Ergenekon.The court transferred the request to the Istanbul prosecutor’s office. The Dink family’s lawyers also filed a complaint against Kemal Kerinçsiz, an ultranationalist lawyer and former head of Büyük Hukukçular Birligi (the Union of Turkish lawyers), an organisation that is responsible for most of the prosecutions based on article 301 of the criminal code outlawing any “insult” against the Turkish nation, people or institutions.Currently in prison for being part of the alleged Ergenekon conspiracy, Kerinçsiz helped turn Dink into a target for Turkish ultranationalists by submitting repeated requests to the judicial authorities for him to be prosecuted,Reporters Without Borders is exasperated by the lack of cooperation between the different branches of the Turkish state, some of which keep failing to provide the court with crucial documents in their possession, thereby considerably holding back the trial’s ability to progress.During the latest hearing, the alleged instigator of the murder, Erhan Tuncel, repeated that, prior to the murder, he had four phone conversations with a police officer, Mehmet Ayhan, about the plan to kill Dink. The last of these was in December 2006. “Each time I clearly said that Yasin Hayal had decided to kill Dink with a gun outside his newspaper.”But the court has never obtained information about the date, time and duration of these calls, and the numbers called, which would allow it to identify them precisely and to submit a request to the High Council for Telecommunications (TIB) for the recordings of these calls.This means that, for the past three years, neither the police, nor the intelligence services in Ankara nor the TIB have cooperated with the judicial authorities by providing them with any evidence whatsoever of the phone calls that allegedly took place between the alleged instigator and this police officer.A policeman serving a 15-year jail sentence in connection with another murder testified to the court during the latest hearing that he worked in his father’s Internet café on the morning of Dink’s murder and saw the alleged shooter, Ogün Samast, there. He said Samast spent nearly three hours in the café, called Kritik Café. It is located on Safak Street, where Samast is known to have fled after allegedly shooting Dink.The witness also testified that, after the murder, police came to the café to collect data from the computer Samast had used. They said they were not able to recover anything from it.Reporters Without Borders is also amazed that the court refused to hear testimony from former police intelligence chief Sabri Uzun, who has clearly said that a report about the threats to Dink was archived instead of being sent to him. “If I had been informed of the existence of this report, Hrant Dink would still be alive today,” he said.Reporters Without Borders will pay close attention to the next hearing, which is scheduled for 25 October. Organisation News Receive email alerts April 28, 2021 Find out more News TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit News Follow the news on Turkey Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law TurkeyEurope – Central Asia April 2, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Cyber-dissident held for past 20 days, while another prevented from resuming studies after release

first_img March 12, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts March 8, 2021 Find out more Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria Organisation Follow the news on Syria Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of Ali Sayed al-Shihabi (photo), a 50-year-old English teacher who was arrested on 10 August for posting articles on far-left websites and who is still being held by the security services without being able to see his family. Two other cyber-dissidents are currently imprisoned in Syria.The press freedom organisation also voiced dismay on learning that cyber-journalist Massoud Hamid has not been allowed to resume his journalism studies since his release five weeks ago on completing a three-year jail term for posting photos of a demonstration on the Internet.“Syria, which is on our list of the Internet’s 15 ‘black holes,’ is getting tougher with people who express dissident views online,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Four cyber-dissidents have been arrested, arbitrarily detained and tortured in the past three years. President Bashar al-Assad has become the Middle East’s worst Internet predator.”In the months before his arrest, Shihabi had been questioned several times by the security services about the articles he was posting on the Internet, especially on the far-left website When his wife tried to visit him at the Kafr Soussa detention centre, officials told her she was not allowed to see him but she could bring him some of his personal effects.Shihabi who has two children, was previously imprisoned for a year in 1975 and for nine years from 1982 to 1991, for being a member of the outlawed Communist Party of Syria.Meanwhile, Hamid has not been allowed to rejoin the journalism department at Damascus university, where he was studying at the time of his arrest in July 2003 for posting photos of a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Damascus. The authorities have also not returned his identity card, which means he could be arrested whenever he goes out. He has vision problems and pains in his feet as a result of being tortured while in prison.————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: August 30, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Cyber-dissident held for past 20 days, while another prevented from resuming studies after release News to go furthercenter_img SyriaMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en SyriaMiddle East – North Africa News News Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists Help by sharing this information News February 3, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Top officials publicly support improved federal shield law

first_img Follow the news on United States Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says United StatesAmericas June 3, 2021 Find out more News Related documents Administration endorsementPDF – 1.38 MB Organisation News United StatesAmericas April 28, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders welcomes Attorney General Eric Holder and NSA director, Dennis C. Blair’s endorsement of the latest version of the Free Flow of Information Act, aimed at protecting reporters from having to divulge their confidential sources. In a letter released on November 5th, Blair and Holder acknowledged “the critical role that the media plays in a free and democratic society” and urged legislators to pass the bill as it stands, without the addition of further amendments limiting its scope. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for the new version of the Act, which would extend its protection to unpaid bloggers, and hopes it will be approved as soon as possible. to go furthercenter_img Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information RSF_en ————————–03.11.09 – Towards a better protection for reporters’ sources at a federal level Reporters Without Borders welcomes an agreement reached by the White House, leading Democrats senators and a coalition of news organizations on Oct. 31, 2009 , regarding the Free Flow of Information Act (FFOA). Under this new deal, reporters and unpaid bloggers engaged in gathering and disseminating news can protect their sources, without facing fines or jail time if federal judges consider ther information of public interest. However, nonconfidential information, like unpublished interview notes or news footage that has not been televised, continue to be unprotected and will have to be disclosed if requested by federal judges.”By reaching this agreement, the Obama administration moderates its position”, the organization said. “This procedure will allow journalists and bloggers to explain why it is in the public interest to keep their sources confidential.But the disclosure of sources from unpublished material, for national security reasons, still exists and we deeply regret that provision has not been watered down”.The Free Flow of Information Act is a bipartisan bill, also known as the “Media Shield Law”. The bill was passed in the lower house by 398 votes to 21 on Oct. 16, 2007 after being approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Aug. 1st, 2007. A different version was adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct, 4, 2008.This bill is sponsored by Democratic senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Charles E. Schumer of New York. The Shield Law bill would “maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.”An amendment added to the bipartisan bill would create a federal shield law for journalists that does not differentiate between amateur bloggers and internet journalists anymore. The version approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee defines journalists in a large concept and would in principle apply to all those “engaged in journalism” even if they are not necessarily being paid for their work. A journalist is defined in the Senate version as someone who regularly reports and writes as a salaried employee and disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means.”We are glad that bloggers would be protected by this bill and hope that nothing will call this decision into question”, said the press freedom organization. “Including them is a positive step for online free speech and can be an example for other countries which wish to adapt their media laws to the new means of communications means”.While the House version takes into account any subpoenas, this version of the bill grants only a qualified privilege, not an absolute one, and provides protection only in case of subpoenas asking for information related to confidential sources. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its desire to see the Free Flow of Information Act approved as soon as possible and encourages the Senate to pass it. NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists November 6, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Top officials publicly support improved federal shield law June 7, 2021 Find out more News Newslast_img read more

Paul Kamara remains in prison on technicality

first_img April 6, 2020 Find out more The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Receive email alerts Follow the news on Sierra Leone News Organisation Help by sharing this information Sierra LeoneAfrica Coronavirus infects press freedom in Africa Sierra LeoneAfrica to go furthercenter_img News Reports November 27, 2020 Find out more News April 25, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Paul Kamara remains in prison on technicality RSF_en Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent Newspaper editor Paul Kamara is still in prison because a judge rejected his release request on a very minor technicality. The judge, Akiiki Kiiza, ruled on 22 April that the request was unacceptable because it was not signed by Kamara in person. In fact, the request was signed by his wife on 15 March using a power of attorney.Kamara’s lawyer, Joseph O.D Cole, has said he intends to appeal. Kamara, the editor of the weekly For Di People and a journalist whose relations with the government have long been strained, was sentenced in October 2004 to four years in prison under a 1965 law whose enforcement has repeatedly been condemned by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Lawyers Centre for Legal Assistance (LAWCLA).————————-2.03.2005 Imprisoned newspaper editor put in solitary confinement, in top-security cellReporters Without Borders wrote today to the UN secretary-general’s special representative in Sierra Leone voicing concern about reports that Paul Kamara, the editor of the daily For Di People, has been transferred to the high-security cell where former rebel chief Foday Sanko of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was held until he died in 2003.The organization asked the special representative, who also heads the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), “to shed light on these reports and, if appropriate, to ensure that Kamara’s rights as a prisoner are respected.”According to information received by Reporters Without Borders, four prison guards burst into Kamara’s cell shortly after 8 p.m. on 22 February and tried to drag him to Sankoh’s former cell, which is only used for dangerous detainees. Kamara refused to go. This violent incident took place a few days after a search was carried out in his cell for unclear motives in the course of which his food stocks were confiscated.Following the initial, unsuccessful attempt to move Kamara, the prison authorities succeeded in transferring him to the high-security cell on 25 February. He is reportedly still being held there, in solitary confinement.In its letter to the head of UNAMSIL, Reporters Without Borders voiced “serious concern about these unlawful procedures, which have no place in a democracy.”The letter continued: “Not only is Mr. Kamara being detained on what are, in our view, spurious grounds, but it seems he is now the target of a campaign of harassment that goes far beyond any judicial procedure. If it is correct that he is now being treated as a dangerous criminal and is henceforth being kept in solitary confinement, in the cell where the RUF chief was held, it would constitute a gross human rights violation and an extremely serious attack on press freedom.”Reporters Without Borders ended the letter by reiterating its call for the immediate release of Kamara, who was sentenced to a total of four years in prison in October 2004 for “seditiously” libelling President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.President Kabbah brought a libel action against Kamara over an article in the 3 October 2003 issue of For di People headlined, “Speaker of Parliament challenge! Kabbah is a true convict!”The report said a commission of enquiry had in 1968 found Kabbah – then finance minister – guilty of fraud. It also said it was unconstitutional of the parliamentary speaker to maintain that Kabbah enjoys immunity from prosecution as president. March 29, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more