Police raid radio station, arrest dozens — CPJ




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Soldiers of the Chad Army stand next to a Land Cruiser, while bystanders look on, before buing sheep at the Koundoul market, 25 km from N'Djamena, on January 3, 2020, upon their return after a months-long mission fighting Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria. - Chad has ended a months-long mission fighting Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria and withdrawn its 1,200-strong force across their common border, an army spokesman told AFP on January 4, 2020. (Photo by - / AFP)

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Police held the for several hours, according to sources quoted by CPJ and social media posts by journalist Moussa Nguedmbaye.

Chadian authorities should refrain from conducting police raids on news outlets and should thoroughly investigate allegations that journalist Blaise Noubarassem was assaulted by police and intimidated by a government official, the to Protect Journalists said today.

On November 27, in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, police raided the office of privately owned broadcaster Radio FM Liberté while the outlet was hosting a media training for journalists from various news outlets, fired tear gas, and arrested at least 70 people, including at least 20 journalists, according to media reports, a press release by the broadcaster, and Noubarassem, a Radio FM Liberté reporter, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

Police held the journalists for several hours, and then released them without charge, according to those sources and social media posts by local journalist Moussa Nguedmbaye.

Police officers beat Noubarassem on the head and back with guns while they arrested him, and the director of Chad’s General Intelligence organization singled him out and made menacing remarks, according to the journalist and a report by German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, where Noubarassem also works as a correspondent.

Noubarassem told CPJ he did not sustain any serious injuries from the attack, but on December 8 filed a complaint with the public prosecutor about the official’s remarks, which CPJ reviewed.

“Authorities in Chad should be ensuring journalists can safely, not intimidating them with blunt police tactics and threats,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, from Durban, South Africa. “The press in Chad have for years operated under difficult conditions, including the persistent of arrest and prolonged disruptions to social media access. The use of these tactics to harass and pressure the media must end.”

Noubarassem, who is also known as Blaise Dariustone, told CPJ that the police arrived at Radio FM Liberté to arrest an activist and mistook the media training for a “ forum” that had been banned the day before, allegedly due to the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

During the raid, the director of Chad’s General Intelligence organization, a national agency run by the presidency, singled out Noubarassem, pointing to the journalist and saying, “I will take care of him personally,” according to the complaint. When the journalists were released, the official again singled out Noubarassem and said, “he and me, we will meet again,” the complaint said.

The complaint characterizes the official’s remarks as threats, and refers to him as the General Intelligence director but does not name him. Noubarassem identified the director to CPJ as Sougour Abdelkerim Deby.(Premium Times)