Freedom Neruda

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Deputy editor Neruda was taken into custody, and on Jan. 3, he was charged with insulting the head of state in connection with a satirical article published in La Voie suggesting that President Henri Konan Bédié’s presence at the African Champions Cup final brought bad luck to the Ivorian soccer team, which lost to South Africa. On Jan. 11, Neruda was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 6 million CFA (US$12,000). CPJ wrote to President Bédié on two occasions: first, to denounce Neruda’s arrest, and second, to condemn the court’s action and urge the president to revoke Neruda’s sentence along with the two-year prison sentences handed down to journalists Sangaré and Koré for “offending the chief of state.” [See above] He was released on Jan. 1, 1997.