Sydney Pratt, The Trumpet
Dennis Jones, The Trumpet
LEGAL ACTION, IMPRISONED
Criminal charges were brought against managing editor Pratt and reporter Jones, of the private weekly The Trumpet. The journalists were arrested and held at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the capital, Freetown, where the paper is based.
Both were charged with "seditious libel" under Sierra Leone's draconian 1965 Public Order Act, which local journalists have long struggled to have removed from the books.
According to the journalists, who spoke to CPJ from detention, the charge stems from an article published in the May 24 edition of TheTrumpet headlined "Kabbah Mad over Carew Bribe Scandal." The article, citing an unnamed source, said President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was angered by earlier reports alleging that Attorney General and Justice Minister Frederick Carew had accepted bribes.
On May 27, both journalists appeared before a judge and were released on bail of Le 20,000 (about US $8.50). On June 7, both journalists were acquitted.