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Journalist sentenced to six months in prison for defamation

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is disturbed at the prison sentence handed down to journalist Jean-Baptiste Hounkonnou on 16 March 2004 for "defamation".

Hounkonnou, the publication director of the daily "Le Nouvel Essor", was sent to Parakou (Centre-Est) prison immediately after the trial to begin serving his sentence. The verdict stems from a December 2003 "Le Nouvel Essor" article in which a woman was accused of adultery.

Without commenting on the contents of the article in question, International PEN reiterates its view that a prison sentence is disproportionate to the offence of defamation. PEN therefore calls on the Beninois authorities to quash the criminal charges against Hounkonnou, order his release and deal with the matter in the civil courts.

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