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Journalist Groups Express Concerns for French Reporter Arrested in Ivory Coast

Journalists' organizations are expressing concern about the continued detention of French reporter Jean-Paul Ney, who was arrested in Ivory Coast in late December on accusations of breaching national security. Jade Heilmann has more from our West, Central Africa bureau in Dakar.

Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists have publicly expressed their concerns about the continued detention of Jean-Paul Ney in Ivory Coast.

The French journalist was arrested December 27 in Abidjan in connection with the case against Ibrahim Coulibaly, who is accused of plotting a coup. The former army sergeant who plotted the country's only coup in 1999 has been living in exile in Europe and nearby west African countries.

Human rights and information officer Rachel Cohen, of the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, says there is little information about Ney.

"As far as we know he is still being interrogated, but there have been no official statement of charges against him," said Cohen.

She says he has been held too long without being charged.

"We have not been informed of anything," said Cohen. "So far, that leads us to believe that he is anything other than a journalist who was in Côte d'Ivoire just to do journalistic work. I mean, in fact according to our information, he was there doing some reporting on the disarmament process."

A source close to the case says because this is a matter of breached national security, there is no legal limit on how long he can be held.

A source at the French embassy who asked not to be identified says Ivorian authorities have not given them reasons behind Ney's detention, other than possible ties to Ibrahim Coulibaly.