Prominent editor arrested again

New York, June 20, 2002—
Police in Niger have again arrested Abdoulaye Tiemogo, publisher and editor-in-chief of the satirical weekly Canard Dechaine, on charges of defaming Niger Prime Minister Hama Amadou. This is the third time in eight months that Tiemogo has been arrested for his work.

According to local journalists contacted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Tiemogo was picked up by armed police officers on June 18 and taken to a pre-trial detention center in the capital, Niamey.

Defamation is a criminal offense in Niger. If convicted, Tiemogo faces up to 2 years in prison and a hefty fine.

The journalist’s arrest follows a complaint filed by Amadou who claims that three recent articles published by Canard Dechaine have sullied his reputation by reporting that he attempted to bribe Mahamane Ousmane, the head of Niger’s parliament. According to Tiemogo’s stories, Amadou offered 6 million CFA francs (US$8,340).

Tiemogo appeared in court on June 19 and was ordered held without bail, said sources in Niamey.

“CPJ believes that journalists should never face criminal prosecution for their work,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We call for Tiemogo’s immediate release.”