Posted January 10, 2008
Armed policemen on board four pick-up vehicles arrested Bénoudjita, the director of the private weekly Notre Temps, at his home office in the capital, N'Djamena, shortly after 5 a.m., according to local journalists and news reports.
The journalist was taken to a police station and questioned for two hours over a December 11 editorial harshly critical of President Idriss Déby Itno, he told CPJ. Quoting unspecified human rights groups, the editorial alleges Itno's involvement in the ethnic cleansing of 25,000 people since coming to power in 1990.
Policemen later raided the paper's offices, seizing all copies of the paper and temporarily sealing the premises, according to local journalists.
Bénoudjita was later charged with inciting ethnic and religious hatred--charges carrying a six-month prison term or a 100,000 CFA francs (US$230) fine, according to defense lawyer Adolphe Bekoutou. He was released on bail after three days of detention.
Three days later, Interior and Security Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bâchir threatened to "break the pen" of "anyone who writes nonsense," according to local news reports.