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Senegal1 February 2002

Prime minister takes legal action against two journalists for "insults"

In a letter to Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye, RSF protested the claim brought against Ousseynou Nar Guèye and Cheikh Touré. "If the journalists are sentenced, press freedom will be the victim of your lack of self-ridicule. It is important that Senegal, starting with its dignitaries, accept the popular press’s mocking remarks, even if they are in poor taste," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation’s secretary-general. RSF urged the prime minister to withdraw her complaint.

According to information collected by RSF, Prime Minister Boye has taken legal action against Guèye, Le Tract newspaper’s publication director, for "insults to a member of the government" and "distribution of false news through the use of false or fabricated documents". Touré, Guèye’s computer graphics technician, is being taken to court for "complicity". On 31 January 2002, the two journalists appeared before the examining judge in a Dakar court. Guèye’s next hearing is scheduled for 11 February.

On 1 August 2001, Guèye, Touré and Souleymane Ndiaye, Le Tract’s editor-in-chief, were arrested for questioning. That same day, all copies of Le Tract were confiscated by the police. The newspaper’s 1 August edition included a front-page photomontage of Prime Minister Boye in a swimsuit. The three journalists were released the next morning. The computer used to prepare the photomontage was seized at the time and has yet to be returned by the police.

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