Chad: Jailed journalist on hunger strike to protest against "judicial manipulation"

A jailed Chadian journalist is on hunger strike after claiming the authorities manipulated the charges against him. Martin Inoua Doulguet, who was sentenced to three years in jail in August 2019, is protesting against what he claims are “various forms of manipulation” of his case.

Credits: Tchad Infos

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned his imprisonment on unsubstantiated charges and without a fair and transparent trial.

The editor of the Salam Info quarterly, Inoua Martin Doulguet, started his hunger strike on March 2 to protest against “the judicial manipulation” of his case, according to news reports.

Doulguet was initially arrested after the former Health Minister Toupte Boguena, filed a defamation complaint against him. Salam Info published an article describing accusations of witchcraft and sexual abuse involving the minister.

A month after his arrest, on September 23, Doulguet was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of defamation. As Chad’s laws do not allow for imprisoning journalists for “media offences”, the authorities decided to add the charge of “association for the purpose of computer crime,” which does allow for his imprisonment.

His appeal trial began on Monday, March 2, in Chad’s capital city Ndjamena. However, the case was moved from a regular chamber to the office of the General Prosecutor. No explanation was provided for this sudden change. His lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ravanas, said he was excluded from making any comments of these procedures. The case has been now adjourned until March 12.

Doulguet refused to attend the hearing and has been on hunger strike since 2 March.

In a letter sent to the director of the Amsinéné prison in Ndjamena, Doulguet writes: “I hereby come to inform you that I am going on hunger strike as of Monday, March 2, 2020, to protest against the various manipulations to which my judicial file has been subjected since the start of the proceedings up to this date.

The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “It is a outrage for authorities to jail journalists on trumped-up charges and bend the law to accommodate their whims and wishes. We demand the immediate release of Inoua Martin Doulguet and for the state to abide by the rule of law”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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