Jean-Paul Ney

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Police in the capital, Abidjan, arrested French freelance photojournalist Jean-Paul Ney near the studios of the national broadcaster, Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne. Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted Ivorian State Prosecutor Raymond Tchimou as saying that Ney was picked up with “various electronic devices” and in the company of an individual carrying a firearm.

The arrest came nearly 10 days after authorities launched investigations into an alleged coup attempt by exiled former rebel Ibrahim Coulibaly, according to news reports. Shortly after Ney’s arrest, video footage surfaced online showing the journalist in the company of Coulibaly and his entourage. Coulibaly confirmed to AFP that Ney had taken footage in which Coulibaly and his entourage discussed preparations for an unspecified Christmas Day operation in Abidjan.

Prior to his arrest, Ney had told the French photo agency Gamma that he planned to report on political opposition in Ivory Coast , agency editor Jean-Paul Gautier told CPJ.

On January 17, 2008, prosecutors announced formal charges against Ney and nine other individuals. The charges included “disturbing public order” and “failing to denounce actions likely to undermine national defense.”

No trial date was set while Ney remained in the Maison d’Arrêt et de Correction d’Abidjan. According to unconfirmed reports, Ney was in poor health and was hospitalized twice for malaria and typhoid fever.