A man reads a newspaper in a street in N'Djamena, Chad, on April 12, 2016. A publisher was recently handed a suspended jail term in a defamation suit involving the president's brother. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP)

Chad publisher handed suspended jail term for critical reporting on president's brother

February 25, 2019 3:42 PM ET

Deli Nestor, publisher of the privately owned semi-weekly investigative newspaper Eclairage in Chad, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence by a criminal court in N'Djamena on February 13, 2019, after he was convicted of defaming the brother of President Idriss Deby, according to Nestor, who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Nestor told CPJ that judicial proceedings were launched against him following a May 31, 2017, article he wrote and published alleging that the president's brother, Daoussa Deby, had benefited financially from the illegal importation of sugar into Chad from Sudan.

Nestor's lawyers filed to appeal the judgment on February 14, and are waiting for an appeal hearing to be scheduled, according to Adolphe Békoutou, one of the attorneys.

"We are appealing on the grounds that several media have written about the matter and implicated Daoussa Deby," Békoutou told CPJ.

Nestor told CPJ that the claims in his article had already been published in several other media outlets as early as 2012, and subsequent articles were printed in local papers Le Potentiel, Le Progrés, and Le Pays, which are not available online, but which CPJ has reviewed.

CPJ called Daoussa Deby's office for comment but was repeatedly told to call back and never reached Deby.

Békoutou told CPJ that, despite being ordered to pay 500,000 Central African francs ($865) in damages and a fine of 50,000 francs ($86), Nestor has refused to pay until he finishes the appeals process.

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