Journalist transferred to maximum-security prison

New York, August 13, 2002—A journalist who was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for publishing an “alarming report” was transferred yesterday to a maximum-security prison outside the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

On August 9, 2002, Njehu Gatabaki, an opposition member of Parliament and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Finance magazine, was found guilty of publishing an “alarming” article and sentenced to six months in jail without the option of a fine, according to Kenyan sources and news reports. [See CPJ’s August 12 letter]

Gatabaki was taken into custody after the sentencing and remanded to a Nairobi jail. He was then transferred on August 12 to the Kamiti Maximum Prison, which is notorious for its violent criminals.

Gatabaki has indicated that he will appeal the ruling.

“Journalists should never be criminally prosecuted for doing their work,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We demand Gatabaki’s immediate release.”

The case stems from a December 1997 report in Finance, titled “Moi ordered Molo Massacre,” alleging that President Daniel arap Moi was responsible for ethnic clashes that plagued parts of Rift Valley Province in the early 1990s.

Gatabaki was originally arrested on December 5, 1997. He was granted bail and released shortly thereafter. The case has been moving through Kenya’s backlogged court system since.