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Comoros1 October 2003

Arrested French journalist leaves Comoros

French cameraman Morad Aït-Habbouche, arrested on 22 September for "attempting to overthrow the government," was freed and flew to France on 27 September. The Comoran interior minister said he was "on probation but free to go where he liked." Government opponent Saïd Larifou, who was arrested along with two other French citizens when they went to a police station to visit the journalist, are still in detention for "subversion, destabilising activities and incitement to violence."


French journalist arrested, charged with "attempting a coup"

Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern over the fate of French journalist Morad Aït-Habbouche, who was arrested and detained in the capital, Moroni, on 22 September 2003. The journalist has since been charged with "attempting a coup".

"We do not understand this charge. The journalist was on assignment in the Comoros islands. The authorities must provide more information about this matter and release the journalist without delay," Reporters Without Borders said.

Aït-Habbouche, a French journalist who was on assignment for Canal Plus television, was arrested at his Moroni hotel on 22 September and taken to a police station. A few hours later, Said Larifou, a lawyer who heads an opposition party (the Rassemblement pour une initiative de développement avec une jeunesse avertie, Ridja), was also detained at the police station after he went to inquire about the reporter’s arrest.

According to the Pana news agency, on 23 September, Comoros State Prosecutor Idi Bazia said Aït-Habbouche, Larifou and other unidentified persons were charged with "attempting a coup."

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