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Two journalists sentenced to three-month prison terms

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is concerned by the sentencing of two journalists to
three-month prison terms. According to RSF's information, on 28 December
1998, Harry Rahajason and Christian Chatefaux, journalist and
editor-in-chief, respectively, of the newspaper "L'Express de Madagascar"
were sentenced to three months in prison. Rahajason was found guilty of
contempt of court, further to a complaint filed by M. Ralantomahefa, public
prosecutor of the Antsirabé republic at the time of the case. The journalist
was accused of having insulted the magistrate in a June 1997 article. As for
Chatefaux, he was sentenced for having delayed the publication of the
plaintiff's right to a response for too long a period.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the President:
  • expressing concern regarding the severity of the magistrates in this
  • suggesting that the penalty should not be disproportionate to the offence
    and reminding him that , in a 14 July 1992 document, the United Nations
    Commission on Human Rights underlined that as a sanction 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
  • without commenting on the facts of the case, hoping that his intervention
    will allow these journalists to remain free

    Appeals To

    Monsieur Didier Ratsiraka
    Président de la République
    Antananarivo, Madagascar

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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