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Kenya25 July 2002

Journalist sentenced to nine months in prison

Christopher Mwoki Kyandi, journalist and editor of the scandal magazine The Truth, was sentenced to nine months in prison on 24 July for publishing "false news."

"Without in any way endorsing this kind of media or journalism, we protest against a prison term completely out of proportion to the offence," said Reporters Without Border secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to attorney-general Amos Wako asking for the journalist to be freed at once.

Early this month, The Truth published a story about sex on its back and front pages that caused great excitement in Nairobi, and a large number of people went to where the event supposedly took place. Police arrested the editor and seized 200 copies of the paper. In court on 11 July, he pleaded guilty to writing and spreading a rumour, was convicted two weeks later and went to jail at once to begin his nine-month sentence.

Reporters Without Borders notes that early last month, a High Court judge banned the sale of the 3-9 June issue of the Weekly Citizen newspaper at the request of businessman Sunil Behal, who was suing the paper for libel. The paper habitually prints sex gossip.

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