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Djibouti


-  Surface area: 23,200 sq. km.
-  Population: 632,000
-  Languages: Arabic, French, Afar, Somali
-  Type of State: unitary republic

Djibouti - Annual report 2002

The managing editor of Le Renouveau is also the president of one of the main Djibouti opposition parties. These are two reasons to harass him, as far as the authorities are concerned. In 1999 already he spent three months in jail.

One journalist arrested

Agents of the criminal brigade arrested Daher Ahmed Farah, managing editor of the privately-owned weekly Le Renouveau, on 15 January 2001 at his home. A complaint was lodged against him by Daher Ismaël Kahin, prefect of Djibouti. The journalist was immediately referred to the prosecutor and released after being charged for "spreading false news" and "libel". The judge also ordered the temporary suspension of the weekly and prohibited the journalist from "crossing the borders of the Republic of Djibouti". Le Renouveau had published an article on 11 January headed "Chideh [the nickname of Daher Ismaël Kahin] charges the central market". The weekly denounced the destruction of a market on orders of the prefect, and accused him of being responsible for the death of a butcher during the police raid. On 30 March Daher Ahmed Farah was found guilty of "spreading false news" and sentenced to a fine of 300,000 Djibouti francs (roughly 1,900 euros). Le Renouveau was also suspended for three months. This weekly is the mouthpiece of the opposition Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) of which Daher Ahmed Farah is the president.

Along with two agents from the national treasury, Hachi Abdillahi Ahmed and Mohamed Sougueh Waiss, Daher Ahmed Farah was placed under a committal order at Gabode central prison in mid-June. The economy and finance minister had filed a complaint following the publication on 7 June of copies of two money orders from the national treasury for a total amount of six million Djibouti francs (about 40,000 euros), representing an "exceptional advance granted to the minister". The journalist and the two officials from the treasury were charged with "possession of stolen information" and "misappropriation of a document from a public depot". They were released after 24 hours in detention and placed under control of the courts, pending trial.

On 3 August the state prosecutor prohibited Daher Ahmed Farah from leaving the country. The journalist was on his way to Washington to attend a conference organised by the US government.



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see also
Introduction
Annual report 2002

Hard times for press freedom
Asia annual report 2002
Americas annual report 2002
Europe annual report 2002
Maghreb / Middle-East annual report 2002