Sierra Leone talk show host released from jail

2014-11-15 11:16
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Freetown - A journalist held in Sierra Leone since 3 November after a guest on his radio show criticised President Ernest Bai Koroma's handling of the Ebola outbreak was released from jail on Friday.

David Tam Baryoh, host of the weekly "Monologue" programme on the private Citizen FM station, had been arrested and sent to Freetown's notorious Pademba Road jail, following an executive order signed by the president earlier this month.

But on Friday, Sierra Leone's Deputy Information Minister Theo Nicol told AFP that Baryoh had "been put on a ten thousand dollar bail by the Criminal Investigation Department after a statement has been taken from him".

No charges have been filed against Baryoh.

The arrest followed Baryoh's show being taken off air during a live broadcast on 1 November, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), citing local media.

Criticism

Baryoh had interviewed an opposition party spokesperson who criticised Koroma and his government's handling of the Ebola outbreak.

The host and his guest both also criticised Koroma's intention to run for a third term in office, according to local media.

Sierra Leone's Attorney General Frank Kargbo had said it was alleged that Baryoh had made "inflammatory statements" during his broadcast, claiming that "recent events in Burkina Faso could occur in Sierra Leone".

President Blaise Compaore, who headed Burkina Faso for 27 years, was forced to resign on 31 October by a popular uprising following an attempt to change the constitution to extend his rule.

Sierra Leone is one of the countries worst hit by the Ebola virus.

The latest World Health Organisation figures show that 1 187 people in Sierra Leone had died from the virus as of 11 November out of 5 586 cases.

In total, the UN health agency has reported 5 177 deaths across eight countries out of a total of 14 413 cases of infection.

Pademba Road was built for 324 inmates but currently houses around 1 200. Government health experts have linked deaths among prisoners to acute malnutrition, lack of hygienic conditions, malaria and heart failure.

Read more on:    ernest bai koroma  |  sierra leone  |  west africa  |  ebola

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