Reporters Without Borders

Malabo's only foreign press correspondent held for the past 48 hours

Malabo’s only foreign press correspondent held for the past 48 hours

Published on Friday 19 June 2009.
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Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Rodrigo Angüe Nguema, the Malabo correspondent of Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Radio France Internationale (RFI), who was jailed on 17 July in the capital’s notorious Black Beach prison on a charge of reporting false information.

“No date has yet been set for Nguema’s trial and it is incomprehensible that he should be held in the meantime like a common bandit,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We are very worried about what will happen to him as Black Beach prison is known for its violence. His imprisonment is typical of the way the authorities hound journalists in this country, which shows no respect for press freedom.”

Plain-clothes police escorted a handcuffed Nguema to Black Beach prison at midday on 17 June on the orders of Malabo investigating judge Agustin Chicampo because he was unable to post bail of 20 million CFA francs (30,000 euros). His wife has not been able to see him since he was jailed.

Criminal libel charges were brought against Nguema because of a report carried by both AFP and RFI in April in which he said the head of the national airline Ceiba, Gambian citizen Mamadou Jaye, had embezzled 3.5 billion CFA francs (5 million euros) and skipped the country.

Jaye immediately denied it to AFP and RFI and Nguema acknowledged that his information was wrong. He said he got it from rumours circulating online and thought he had confirmed it by talking to local sources, above all at Malabo airport.

Jaye is suing Nguema for 5 million euros in damages, the amount he was alleged to have embezzled in Nguema’s report.

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