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Two journalists receive six month prison sentence



(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is expressing concern further to the sentencing of two
journalists to six month prison terms. According to RSF's information, on 17
November 1998, Maurice Chabi and Pascal Zantou, chief editor and reporter,
respectively, of the independent daily "Les Echos du jour", received a six
month prison sentence for slander. This sentence follows the filing of a
complaint by national Education Minister Léonard Padonou Jijoho. The
Minister took exception to the publication of an article in the newspaper's
26 August edition accusing him of misappropriating public funds.




Recommended Action


Send appeals to the President of the Republic:
  • reminding him that no journalist had received a prison sentence in Benin
    in over a year
  • expressing the opinion that there should not be a disproportionate
    penalty
    to a crime committed and reminding him that in a document dated 14 July
    1992, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights underlined that as a
    form of punishment for expressing one's opinion, detention constitutes one
    of the most reprehensible means of imposing silence, and, as such, a serious
    violation of human rights
  • expressing the hope that the court of appeal will reverse the high
    court's
    decision and quash Chabi's and Zantou's sentence




    Appeals To



    Mr. Mathieu Kerekou
    President of the Republic
    Place de l'Indépendance
    Cotonou, Bénin

    For fax number, please contact Jean-François Julliard or Frédéric Lesain at
    RSF







    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.



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