Chad: Police Hold Journalist in Custody for Reporting On Child Soldiers in Conflict Zones

press release

Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of journalist Evariste Ngaralbaye, of the privately-owned weekly "Notre Temps", who has been detained by the national gendarmerie since 27 October 2006.

"We protest against the continued detention of Evariste Ngaralbaye. He should be urgently released," the worldwide press freedom organisation said, adding: "We remind the Chadian authorities that journalists are entitled to write about a subject of public interest such as the army, without fear of imprisonment."

The journalist was summoned on 27 October 2006 to the national section for judicial research (SNRJ) of the N'Djamena gendarmerie and was immediately imprisoned without explanation.

The state prosecutor, questioned by the managing editor of "Notre Temps" and the president of the Chadian Human Rights League, explained that the arrest was linked to the publication, in the weekly's 274th edition, of an article headlined, "The conflict in the East: a pointless war", which referred to the issue of child soldiers.

The defence minister had given a press conference on the evening of 26 October, during which he warned journalists whose articles "cast a slur on the army" without any evidence, and denied that children were being recruited into the army.

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