Bah was arrested at the end of his trial in Conakry on 4 February, when a court sentenced him to six months in prison and a fine of 500,000 Guinean francs (40 euros) on a charge of defaming FEGUIFOOT president Mamadou Antonio Souaré.
He was convicted over an article for the Guinee7.com news website in which he reported accusations of corruption against Souaré by an unsuccessful rival candidate for the position of FEGUIFOOT president.
At the trial, the prosecution called on the court to acquit Bah on the grounds that no crime had been committed. But, against all expectation, the judge found him guilty and imposed the six-month jail term, with the result that Bah was taken from the courtroom to Conakry prison.
“We call for this journalist’s immediate and unconditional release and we urge the authorities to comply strictly with the media law’s provisions,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office. “This sentence clearly constitutes an illegal circumvention of the media law, which abolished prison sentences for press offences, as the justice minister recently reiterated. And furthermore, nothing in what this journalist wrote could justify such a harsh punishment.”
Journalists are often arrested and taken into police custody in Guinea, although press offences have been decriminalized since 2010.