DJIBOUTI : Amnesty
calls for release of opposition leader
NAIROBI, 16 Jul 2003 (IRIN)
– The human rights group, Amnesty International, has called for the unconditional
release of a leading opposition figure and a journalist.
In a statement, it said Daher Ahmed Farah, president of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Renewal and Development (Mouvement pour le renouveau democratique
et le developpement – MRD) and director of the party’s paper ‘Le Renouveau
djiboutien’, was jailed on 9 July on charges of libel against the army chief
of staff and an army women’s folklore group.
who consider themselves defamed have the right of reply and if that is insufficient
they can legitimately resort to legal actions to defend their reputation,"
"But this should
not involve, as it has done in Daher Ahmed Farah’s case, detention by
the police, arbitrary refusal of bail, state prosecution and prison sentences."
Djibouti’s foreign ministry
spokesman Siad Dualleh told IRIN that the case was still before the courts.
"We should allow for due process to take its course, before any comments,"
Amnesty pointed out that
the Djibouti constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and the country
ratified the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects
freedom of expression, last year.