Journalist detained and assaulted by prison official while covering story

This statement was originally published on on 18 May 2020.

A journalist who had gone to a prison facility in Abidjan to interview a warden about allegations of the extortion of prisoners by one of the prison officers was assaulted and detained in a prison cell.

Claude Dasse of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan newspaper, went to the Maison d’Arret et de Correction d’Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s largest civilian prison after obtaining an appointment to speak to Hincleban Koné, warden of the facility.

When Dasse arrived at the prison, he was rather received by Koné Kassoum, the alleged mastermind of the fraudulent dealings.

Kassoum got infuriated when Dasse asked whether he could record the interview and threw the journalist into one of the prison cells.

“They kept me there for about 4 hours. They beat me here and there. When he let me go, Koné Kassoum warned me not to write anything on what happened, nor on the subject for which I had come. Otherwise, it’ll be my death,” Dassé told the local media.

The MFWA condemns the physical attack on Dasse and his subsequent detention by the prison officers and urges the prison authorities to investigate the incident and bring Kassoum to book. We also call on the police to thoroughly investigate the threat against Dasse and provide him protection to enable him to carry out his duties in safety.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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