Burkina Faso: Public Hearing in the Matter of Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso

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The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights will hold a public hearing in respect of Application No. 004/2013- Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso, on 20-21 March 2014, during its 32nd Ordinary Session which will take place at the seat of the Court, in Arusha, Tanzania.

The matter relates to the alleged violation of Mr Konaté's rights under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Mr Konaté, Chief Editor of the weekly newspaper L'Ouragan, was convicted by the Courts in Burkina Faso for defamation, public insult and insulting a magistrate due to two articles he published in his paper on 1 August 2012.

He was then sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and payment of a fine of FCFA 1,500,000.00 (the equivalent of USD 3,000.00), civil damages of FCFA 4,500,000.00 (the equivalent of USD 9,000.00) and FCFA 250,000.00 in costs (the equivalent of USD 500.00).

The Applicant submits that his conviction to a prison sentence, payment of a substantial fine, civil damages and costs violates his right to freedom of expression.

The Applicant prays the Court to declare that his criminal conviction, and in particular his prison sentence and order to pay a substantial fine, civil damages and costs, is in violation of his right to freedom of expression; and to order Burkina Faso to make reparations to the Applicant, consisting of, amongst others, lost income, lost profits and compensation for emotional suffering.

The Applicant is represented by Mr Yakaré-Oulé (Nani) Jansen and Mr John R.W.D. Jones, Q.C while the Respondent is represented by lawyers from the Government of Burkina Faso.

Members of the public and the media are invited to attend the public hearing at the Court's premises (Kibo Hall), located in the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Conservation Centre (next to TANAPA Office), Dodoma Road, on 20-21 March 2014, or follow it live online at www.livestream.com/afchpr.

The hearing will commence at 10:00 AM (local time) and the public is invited to be seated by 9:30 AM.

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