31 January 2019

Cote d'Ivoire: Fake News Lands MP in Jail

Photo: wikipedia
Alain Lobognon

Alain Lobognon has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and a fine of 300,000 FCFA reports L'Intelligent d'Abidjan.

Lobognon is a former sports minister and currently an opposition parliamentarian.  Radio France Internationale writes that  he is reportedly close to opposition leader, Guillaume Soro, who is said to have lobbied President Alassane Ouattara for his release. He is facing charges related to propagating "fake news", Prosecutor Adou Richard says.

Lobognon, wrote on twitter that his counterpart MP Ehouo Jacques, cited in an embezzlement case, had been arrested. This turned out to be false. The prosecution was pushing for a 24 months prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 FCFA. The judge on Tuesday handed down 12 months and a fine of  300,000F FCFA.

Before the trial, some 20 opposition MPs who had marched all the way from the National Assembly to support their colleague were prevented by the police from entering the  courthouse. Lobognon who has been on a hunger strike since January 21st says the decision is politically motivated. His lawyers argue that as a member of parliament and a former minster, he should benefit from immunity.

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