Journalist sentenced to six months in prison; a second facing legal action
Didama was sentenced to 6 months' prison without parole and a fine of 200 000 francs CFA (approx. US$376; 305 euros) for "defamation", "publishing false news", and "incitement to tribal hatred". The charges were brought in relation to a report published in "Le Temps" on the rebel movement in the eastern part of the country. The paper had also published photos taken from the Al Whida news website, a site belonging to the armed opposition.
Arrested on 22 June, Didama was released on a technicality on 11 July. He was summoned to court a second time on 18 July after the government brought a new case against him. He remained in custody after the hearing.
The same day, Singa Gali appeared before the correctional chambers of the court of first instance in N'Djamena. The State Prosecutor is disputing the publishing of an interview with independent journalist Garondé Djarma in the 13 July edition of "L'Observateur". Djarma is currently serving a three-year prison term. In the interview, he claims his arrest was a result of "Janjaweed manipulation". The term "Janjaweed" is commonly used to refer to Arab Chadians belonging to the Democratic Revolutionary Council (Conseil démocratique révolutionnaire, CDR). A verdict is expected to be announced on 15 August.
Didama is the third journalist to be imprisoned in Chad this year. Djarma, an independent journalist and columnist for "L'Observateur", was imprisoned on 18 July along with coordinator Samory Ngaradoubmé. They were sentenced to three years' and three months' prison, respectively.