Evariste Ngaralbaye, journalist of the privately-owned weekly Notre Temps, was provisionally released on 31 October 2006, after being locked up for four days with common-law prisoners. Justice Minister Abderaman Djasnabaille ordered his release because of a procedural error. The journalist had in fact been arrested before a complaint against him had been lodged.
He is being sued by the National Gendarmerie for “defamation” and “damage to the reputation and morale of the troops”. Ngaralbaye is due to make his first appearance in court in N’Djaména on 2 November 2006.
Police hold journalist in custody for four days
Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of journalist Evariste Ngaralbaye, of the privately-owned weekly Notre Temps, who has been detained by the national gendarmerie for the past four days.
"We protest against the continue detention of Evariste Ngaralbaye. He should be urgently released,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said, adding. “We remind the Chadian authorities that journalists are entitled to write about a subject of public interest such as the army, without fear of imprisonment.”
The journalist was summoned on 27 October 2006 to the national section for judicial research (SNRJ) of the N’Djamena gendarmerie and was immediately put into a cell without explanation.
The state prosecutor, questioned by the managing editor of Notre Temps and the president of the Chadian human right League, explained that the arrest was linked to the publication in the weekly’s 274th edition of an article headlined, "The conflict in the East: a pointless war” which referred to the case of child soldiers.
The defence ministry gave a press conference the previous evening during which it warned journalists whose articles “cast a slur on the army” without any evidence and denied that children were being recruited into the army.