Senegal UPDATE: Jailed editor appeals against sentence, police seized publication

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lawyers of El Malick Seck, jailed editor-in-chief of 24 Heures Chrono, a Dakar-based daily newspaper on September 12, 2008 appealed the three-year prison sentence given their client by a court for  publishing “false news”, “inciting the public’ and “public insult”.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that Demba Ciré Bathily, lead counsel, who announced the editor’s intention, said the sentence was outrageous and violates his (Seck) human rights.

The court exonerated the journalist of two other offences of “insulting the head of state”, and “possessing illegal documents”. 

“El Malick Seck is a political prisoner… There is a disproportionate punishment in relation to the content of the article that is not even up to three thousand characters … ( this verdict exposed) the unacknowledged purpose of eliminating El Malick Seck and his newspaper", Ciré Bathily told journalists.

Seck was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and his newspaper was banned from publishing for the next three months.  This followed an article in the late August edition of 24 Heures Chrono, that linked President Abdoulaye Wade and his son to a case of money laundering from Cote’d’Ivoire.

Meanwhile, police personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department on September 13 seized the day’s publication, claiming that they were enforcing the court’s order. The defence counsel has condemned the police action saying it acted ultra vires, since the matter is still pending in court. 

Media Foundation for West Africa