AUGUST 15, 2005
Updated: October17, 2005
Sy Koumbo Singa Gali, L’ObservateurGarondé Djarma, freelance
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION
Chadian journalist Sy Koumbo Singa Gali was sentenced to one year in prison for “inciting hatred,” the fourth reporter jailed in a month in what local journalists called a growing crackdown on the independent press.
A court in the capital N’Djamena convicted Sy, publication director of the privately owned weekly L’Observateur, after she published an interview with freelance journalist and government critic Garondé Djarma, her lawyer told CPJ.
The court on August 15 also handed Djarma a separate one-year prison sentence and fined Djarma and Sy 200,000 CFA francs (U.S. $380) each.
Djarma was sentenced on July 18 to three years in jail for defamation and “inciting hatred.” Djarma criticized a July constitutional referendum allowing President Idriss Déby to run for a third term next year. In the interview with Sy he accused Arab “janjaweed” members of the Chadian government of conspiring to silence him because of his coverage of the conflict between Arabs and black Africans in the neighboring Darfur province of Sudan.
Sy’s interview with Djarma appeared shortly before his conviction.
Sy’s lawyer, Sobdjibe Zoua, told CPJ that the court did not specify whether Djarma’s additional one-year term would run concurrently with his three-year sentence or consecutively.
Two other journalists were jailed for their work in what local journalists called a crackdown on the media—Michaël Didama, publication director of the private weekly Le Temps, and Ngaradoumbé Samory, publication director of L’Observateur.
On September 26, an appeals court in N’Djamena overturned both sentences against Djarma, citing procedural irregularities. The same court also overturned Sy’s sentence on similar grounds, and both journalists were released the same day.