This morning, police in Burkina Faso
summoned four leaders of a march over the weekend that called for a renewed
investigation into the unsolved 1998 assassination of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo. Among those
questioned was Jean-Claude Meda, the president of the Association of
Journalists of Burkina Faso, who told me that he received a call from a police
captain on Sunday evening.
Meda said he joined
Bénéwendé Sankara, a lawyer handling the Zongo murder case, and activists
Chryzogone Zougmoré and Tolé Sagnon in the office of Col. Zambo Martin Zongo in
connection with slapping stickers bearing "Norbert Zongo Avenue" on street signs
along one of the main boulevards in the capital, Ouagadougou. The attempt to rename the
boulevard was purely symbolic; Meda said the stickers were removed the same day.
The four men were released without charge pending further investigations or
possible charges, he said he'd been told.
Thousands of people took
part in a peaceful march through the city's streets on Saturday to protest impunity
in the killing of the country's best-known journalist 10 years ago.
Speaking to CPJ via
telephone from Ouagadougou
today, Communications Minister Filippe Sawadogo said the investigation was
still open. "The case has never been closed. If there is new evidence, it must
be brought to the attention of the judiciary," he said. A judge
had dismissed charges in 2006 against the only suspect in the case.
Even President Blaise Compaoré, whose brother Zongo was
investigating before his death, acknowledged the failure of justice in the
case. "With the public, we have this thirst for justice, and for the truth,
which has not yet been established," he said in a December 4 interview
published in three local newspapers. "The judiciary, despite its availability
and commitment in any case, can have limits," he added.