• Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:29 pm

Congolese editor critical of president freed from jail

  • Published at 07:25 pm August 12th, 2021
Congo journo
Journalist Raymond Malonga as seen in an archive photo Collected

He was arrested in February while receiving treatment in hospital, and convicted in May, sentenced to six months in jail

The editor of a Congolese satirical weekly critical of President Denis Sassou Nguesso was released from prison on Wednesday after serving a six-month sentence for libel, an AFP journalist saw.

"I'm relieved to leave prison," said Raymond Malonga, describing his detention conditions as "really deplorable".

Noting that he suffers from high blood pressure, the visibly tired 60-year-old said he would rest before returning to work.

He added that he was having a "problem with memory loss". 

A few officials from rights groups were present for Malonga's release from the capital Brazzaville's central prison.

Malonga, editor of Sel-Piment (Salt and Spice), was found guilty of libelling Georgette Okemba, the wife of a close aide to Sassou Nguesso, after accusing her of diverting one billion CFA francs (1.5 million euros, $1.75 million) from state coffers.

 was arrested in February while receiving treatment in hospital, and convicted in May, sentenced to six months in jail.

His online weekly had been suspended earlier this year by the High Council for Freedom of Communication -- led by a former minister from Sassou Nguesso's PCT party.

Malonga was also ordered to pay a fine of 30 million CFA francs (more than 45,000 euros or $54,000), with a deadline of four months, according to a family member.

"For his release, we paid a 100,000 CFA francs bail," he told AFP.

Congo was ranked 118th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' global Press Freedom Index last year.



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