New York, April 2, 2007—
A criminal court in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, today sentenced to prison the president of a private press group, who has been jailed since March 12
in connection with statements critical of the governmental High Communication Council (HCC), according to news reports.
Michel Alkhaly Ngady—who heads a group of private press editors known by the French acronym GEPPIC—was sentenced to two months in prison and fined 300,000 CFA francs (US$636) on charges of “resistance and disobedience to public authorities and contempt for the laws,” according to the same sources. He was returned to prison, pending an appeal. Today, private newspapers staged a “press-free day” to protest the imprisonment of Ngady, who is also director of the private weekly Les Temps Nouveaux
, according to news reports.