News / Africa

Gabon Convicts Activist for Defaming Ally of President

Gabonese opposition and non-government organization member Marc Ona Essangui shows on June 8, 2008 his passport, featuring an exit date and a boarding pass.
Gabonese opposition and non-government organization member Marc Ona Essangui shows on June 8, 2008 his passport, featuring an exit date and a boarding pass.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— A prominent environmental activist was given a six-month suspended sentence for defamation in Gabon, his lawyer said on Friday, after he accused an ally of the president of secretly owning the local unit of commodities giant Olam International.

Marc Ona Essangui said during a television broadcast that Olam Gabon, which is developing timber, palm oil and rubber projects in the tiny Central African nation, belonged to Liban Soleman, a senior advisor to President Ali Bongo.

Soleman denied the allegation and brought a defamation case against him, which he won in a Libreville court.

"I regret this decision against my client, who was only fulfilling his role of a counterweight [to the government]. I will consult with my client and possibly appeal this decision," Ona Essangui's lawyer Ruphin Nkoulou said.

The court also ordered Ona Essangui to pay damages of 5 million CFA francs ($9,800) to Soleman as well as a fine of 200,000 CFA francs. The state prosecutor had requested a one-year jail sentence.

During his first appearance in court on March 9, the wheelchair-bound activist said he did not regret making the accusation. "If I had it to do over again, I'd do the same thing," he said at the time.

Olam began operating in Gabon in 1999, establishing a logging operation. It later entered into a joint venture with the Gabonese state to develop plantations and palm oil mills with planned investments of around $236 million.

Gabonese environmental groups have for the past three years requested publication of the joint venture agreement without success.

Ona Essangui was jailed briefly in 2008 after calling for more transparency in the country's public management.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid