IFJ Calls for Immediate Release of Radio Director in Chad

The International Federation of Journalists today called for the immediate release of Tchanguiz Vatankhah, director of Radio Brakoss (at 600 km of N’Djamena) and President of the Chadian Union of Private Radios (URPT).

“Tchanguiz Vatankhah has been held incommunicado since 28 April and only today has the Deputy Minister for Human Rights informed us that Vatankhah is at the Central Police Station of N’Djamena,” declared Evariste Ngarlem Toldé, President of the Chadian Union of Journalists. “ No official reason has been given for this arrest”.

The day before his arrest on 28 April, police officers questioned Tchanguiz Vatankhah and asked him for a copy of a recent press release that he had published for URPT. In this statement, the organization called for the postponement of the presidential election and Vatankah told Toldé that he had received telephone threats after the publication of the release supposedly the reason behind his detention.

Tchanguiz Vatankhah who an Iranian native but has lived in Chad for several years had already been imprisoned in 2005 and threatened with expulsion. The Deputy Minister for Human Rights said to a delegation of the Chadian Union of Journalists that he would “commit himself to the release of the director of Radio Brakoss next week due to current engagements with the President’s agenda”.

"This one week waiting period is absolutely unacceptable," said Gabriel Baglo, the Director of the Africa Office of the IFJ. “Vatankhah must be released now without delay”. "We hope that President Idriss Deby Itno will live up to a promise he made on 25 April that he would personally make sure that journalists work safely with complete freedom".

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries