MAY 9, 2005
Posted: May 10, 2005

Honoré Sepe, Le Front

Three armed gendarmes came to Honoré Sepe’s house at 4 a.m. and demanded to be let in, although they admitted they had no warrant, according to the journalist. Sepe refused to let them in and instead called his lawyer. As he was on the phone, the gendarmes forced an entry, according to Sepe. They accused him of colluding with Ivory Coast’s Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebels, which he strongly denied. Sepe told them he had been a journalist for 14 years and was not involved in politics.

The gendarmes proceeded to search every room of the house, seizing his mobile phone, computer and address book, according to Sepe. He was then ordered to accompany them to the gendarmerie, which he did, along with his wife. Sepe told CPJ he was interrogated for several hours about his relationship with the FN and with certain persons listed in his address book who belong to the opposition RDR party. He said his interrogators focused on these names, despite the fact that his address book also contained contacts for members of other political parties.

Sepe told CPJ that the gendarmes also demanded the password to his computer, which he gave them. They went into his computer and questioned him about a photograph they found of a rebel commander. They also questioned his wife.

Sepe told CPJ that he was freed just after 1 p.m., after being told that he was being released unconditionally.