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In a letter to Justice Minister Basile Senghor, RSF expressed concern following the sentencing of Mamadou Oumar Ndiaye, publication director of the Dakar-based weekly "Le Témoin". "While not wishing to comment on the facts of the case, RSF recalls that a prison sentence with no parole for 'defamation' is viewed by international human rights bodies as 'disproportionate' to the harm suffered by the victim," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general.

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
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ALERT - SENEGAL

26 April 2002

Publication director sentenced to four months' imprisonment for defamation

SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris

(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Justice Minister Basile Senghor, RSF expressed
concern following the sentencing of Mamadou Oumar Ndiaye, publication
director of the Dakar-based weekly "Le Témoin". "While not wishing to
comment on the facts of the case, RSF recalls that a prison sentence with no
parole for 'defamation' is viewed by international human rights bodies as
'disproportionate' to the harm suffered by the victim," stated Robert
Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general. The organisation underlined
that United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Abid Hussain considers that "imprisonment as punishment for the peaceful
expression of an opinion constitutes a serious human rights violation."

According to information collected by RSF, the Dakar Regional Tribunal
sentenced Ndiaye to four months' imprisonment with no parole and fined him
two million CFA francs (approx. US$2,740; 3,050 euros) for defamation.
Victor Cabrita, director of the Sainte Marie de Hann Catholic school, had
filed a complaint following the publication of an article in September 2001
which found fault with the administration of the school. Cabrita was notably
accused of misappropriating funds. Ndiaye's lawyers plan to appeal the
decision.

RSF also recalled that Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye has taken legal
action against journalists Ousseynou Nar Guèye and Cheikh Touré Guèye,
publication director and computer graphics technician with the daily "Le
Tract", respectively, for "insults to a member of the government" and
"distribution of false news through the use of false or fabricated
documents". The newspaper's 1 August edition featured a front-page
photomontage of Madior Boye in a swimsuit (see IFEX alert of 4 February
2002).

For further information, contact Jean-François Julliard at RSF, rue Geoffroy
Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51,
e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.rsf.fr

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of RSF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
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