Madagascar: Detained journalist needs proper medical care
Fernand Cello in November 2016
Photo credit: IFEX
Fernand Cello, a Malagasy investigative journalist, is facing seven charges including ‘defamation’, ‘endangering state security’, and ‘incitation to hatred’ after he was arrested on Friday, 5 May. The arrest comes after he exposed an illegal sapphire mining site. The company was eventually ordered by the ministry of mining to suspend its operations for contravening the mining code. He was suffering from angina at the time of his arrest for which he needs immediate medical attention that he has not adequately received in detention.
Fernand Cello, an investigative journalist for Radio Jupiter, was arrested on Friday, 5 May. He was leaving a private clinic in Antananarivo where he had spent several days receiving treatment for angina. He has had limited access to medical treatment since his arrest, having been taken to hospital once where he was hospitalized for two days.
Fernand Cello is facing seven charges including ‘defamation’, ‘endangering state security’, and ‘inciting hatred’. It is believed that his arrest, subsequent detention in Ihosy and some of the charges against him may be in relation to his investigative work.
Fernand Cello, whose real name is Avimana Fernand, had been in hiding since December 2016, after having aired a piece in which he accused a mining company and alleged government allies of running an illegal sapphire mine in Ilakaka, South-West Madagascar. The company was eventually ordered by the ministry of mining to suspend its operations for contravening the mining code. A few days after Fernand Cello’s broadcasts, the radio station he works for, Radio Jupiter, was raided by military forces, who confiscated its transmitter. In August 2016, Radio Jupiter was targeted by unknown persons and a local power company turned off its power supply, after Fernand Cello accused them on air of carrying out unfair practices towards their clients.
Please send an email or letter to the Minister of Justice without delay.
- Start with Your Excellency and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
- Ask him to grant Fernand Cello immediate access to adequate medical care.
- Call on his government to drop all charges stemming from the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
Address your email or letter to
Monsieur le Ministre de la Justice Charles Andriamiseza
43 Rue Joel Rakotomolala
Faravohitra - Antananarivo
Please send a copy to
His Excellency Simon Constant Horace
Ambassador for the Republic of Madagascar
3 Raymond Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 1A3
In Madagascar, freedom of expression, particularly concerning the illegal trafficking of natural resources and the environment, remains risky for those who speak out. Clovis Razafimalala, an environmental activist, is currently in pre-trial detention, after having spoken about against the illegal trafficking of rosewood.
If you wish to receive updates on this case, email email@example.com. In the subject line, write “Keep me updated on Fernand Cello”.