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Burkina Faso9 August 2002

AFP/Reporters Without Borders correspondent released


Christophe Koffi was finally released on 9 August after a little more than 24 hours in detention and the police returned the equipment they had taken from his office. No charge has been pressed and, therefore, there should be no further proceedings against him.

08.8.02 - Correspondent of AFP and Reporters Without Borders arrested

Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediate release of Agence France-Presse correspondent Christophe Koffi, who was arrested on the evening of 7 August by four men in civilian dress and taken to a police station in Ougadougou, where he is still being held. Documents and computers were taken at the time of his arrest.

"As far as we know, nothing justifies this journalist’s detention", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to public prosecutor Abdoulaye Barry. "Reporters Without Borders is astounded that the police have not specified any charges and is very concerned that they have acted in this fashion." The organisation asked for his immediate release and the return of the documents and computers seized by the police.

Koffi, who is the Ouagadougou correspondent of both AFP and Reporters Without Borders, was arrested at his place of work by four men, who searched his office and then his home, taking many documents as well as computers. Without specifying any charge, they said they wanted to question him in connection with the investigation into the murder of Balla Kéïta on 1 August. Kéïta was a former government minister in Ivory Coast who had joined the opposition and lived in Burkina Faso since March 2001 after being granted the status of political refugee.

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