Dakar, December 15, 2022—In response to a Senegalese court’s decision to release journalist Pape Alé Niang on bail with strict conditions, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement Thursday calling for an end to this legal harassment:
“The fact that journalist Pape Alé Niang is no longer in a jail cell in Senegal is small relief given the stifling bail conditions placed on him,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York. “Authorities must combat the erosion of Senegal’s democracy by dropping all legal proceedings against Niang and reforming the country’s laws to ensure journalism is not criminalized.”
On Wednesday, December 14, a Senegalese investigative judge released Niang, director of the privately owned website Dakarmatin, on bail, but seized his passport and barred him from traveling internationally or speaking publicly about his case, Ciré Clédor Ly, one of Niang’s lawyers, told CPJ by phone.
Niang’s release follows his hunger strike that began on December 2 and ended Wednesday, as well as protests by local journalists at the National Assembly on Monday, Ly and media reports said.
On November 6, police arrested Niang in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and on November 9, he was charged with disclosure of information to harm the national defense, concealment of administrative and military documents, and dissemination of false information likely to discredit public institutions. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Niang appeared on CPJ’s 2022 prison census of journalists detained in connection with their work because he remained behind bars as of December 1, the census date.
The charges relate to a November 3 video that Dakarmatin published, in which Niang reported on the contents of a gendarmerie report that allegedly exonerated Ousmane Sonko, an opposition leader and 2024 presidential candidate charged with rape, Ly told CPJ.