A man walks in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, on April 23, 2017. Guinea authorities arrested journalist Saliou Diallo on June 19, 2018, on defamation charges, according to reports. (AFP/Cellou Binani)

Guinean journalist detained on defamation charges

July 22, 2018 4:27 PM ET

Guinean authorities arrested journalist Saliou Diallo in the country's capital, Conakry, on June 19, 2018, and detained him in the city's central prison on defamation charges, according to his lawyer, Moussa Diallo, who is unrelated to the journalist.

Authorities released Saliou Diallo on probation on July 6, 2018, and, as part of the probation terms, he has to report to a Conakry district court every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the journalist told CPJ.

Under Guinea's 2010 press law, which is a separate set of restrictions that applies only to the media, authorities cannot imprison journalists on defamation charges.

The journalist told CPJ on July 17, 2018, that a court date had not been set for his case.

The charges against Diallo relate to an article he published on his news website, Nouvelles de Guinee, about the Justice Minister and Attorney General Cheick Sako, according to the journalist and his lawyer.

The article, which was published in mid-May, accused Sako of involvement in a corruption scandal and contained false information about the schemes in which Sako was allegedly involved, Moussa Diallo told CPJ.

Saliou Diallo told CPJ that he removed the article from his website 10 hours after he published it because he did not have enough proof to accuse Sako of bribery and did not contact the minister for comment before publication.

Sako did not respond to CPJ's calls for comment.

Three Guinean press associations--The Guinean Association of Online Press (AGUIPEL), The Union of Guinean Free Radio and Televisions (URTELGUI), The Guinean Association of Editors for Independent Press (AGEPI)--on June 25, 2018, condemned the security and judicial authorities' handling of the complaint against Diallo, citing failure to respect the country's press law, according to the privately owned news website Guinee Time.

Guinea's national unity minister, Said Kalifa Gassama, spoke against Diallo's detention during an appearance on the privately owned, Conakry-based radio station Espace FM on June 27, 2018. "A journalist should not be sent to prison for defamation," Gassama said.

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