The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) will Thursday open a two-day public hearing in a case in which a Burkinabe journalist is seeking declaration of his conviction for defamation, after publishing two articles in the West African country in August 2012, a violation of his right to freedom of expression.
Lohé Issa Konaté, chief editor of the weekly L’Ouragan, was convicted by the courts in Burkina Faso for defamation, public insult and insulting a magistrate due to two articles he published in his paper.
In its announcement Tuesday, the ACHPR said the matter raised by Konaté versus Burkina Faso “relates to the alleged violation of [his] rights under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Konaté was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and fined FCFA 1,500,000 (the equivalent of US$3,000) and ordered to pay FCFA 4,500,000 (the equivalent of US$9,000) in civil damages and FCFA 250,000 (the equivalent of US$500) in costs.
According to the ACHPR announcement, the applicant has submitted that his conviction to a prison sentence, payment of a substantial fine, civil damages and costs violated his right to freedom of expression.
Konaté has appealed to the Arusha,Tanzania-based Court to order Burkina Faso to make reparations to the him, including lost income, lost profits and compensation for emotional suffering.
The applicant will be represented in Court by Mr Yakaré-Oulé (Nani) Jansen and Mr John R.W.D. Jones, while the respondent will be represented by lawyers from the Government of Burkina Faso.
The public can follow the hearing live online at www.livestream.com/afchpr from 10:00 AM (local time) or 13:00 GMT.