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Jail term for activists in Sierra Leone, trial of French journalists in Paris: critics of Bolloré silenced

A day before the start of yet another trial brought by the Bolloré Group against French journalists, organisations denounce the imprisonment on February 5th of six local community leaders affected by the investments of Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd (SAC), a subsidiary of Socfin, linked to Bolloré. A year ago, Shiaka Sama was invited to Paris by the Bolloré Group to find a solution to the conflicts linked to the exploitation  of plantations in Africa and Cambodia by subsidiaries of Socfin. Today, he is behind bars…Five other activists have also been incarcerated, after being found guilty of destroying 40 oil palm plants...[They] deny the charges…The Group received Shiaka Sama and other affected community representatives in Paris on 24 October 2014. Bolloré agreed to a second negotiating round in 2015, but this never took place…On 11 February 2016, journalists from Bastamag will appear in a hearing in Paris for defamation charges brought in by  the Bolloré Group. The company filed a complaint following the publication of an article denouncing land grabbing and the involvement of investment funds and transnational corporations…The moral and financial pressure generated by these lawsuits hampers on freedom of expression in France and increases the power imbalance between rights defenders and journalists on the one hand and groups like Bolloré on the other…[See response by Bolloré and Socfin on accusations of land grabbing here (in French)]

Part of the following stories

Sierra Leone: NGOs denounce imprisonment of community members opposing Socfin plantations; includes company response

Intl. Human Rights Defenders Day: Role of business in protecting civic freedoms & human rights defenders