Sierra Leone frees journalist detained over Ebola criticism

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 15, 2014 7:30 AM

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Authorities in Sierra Leone have freed a journalist arrested 11 days ago for making supposedly disparaging comments about the country's effort to fight Ebola.

Local rights groups and British parliament had criticized the detention of David Tam-Baryoh, who was arrested under emergency measures put in place to combat the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

Sierra Leone is one of the three West African nations worst hit by an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 5,177 people in West Africa. U.N. officials warned last week the disease was surging in Sierra Leone as it stabilized in Guinea and Liberia.

"I am fine and I forgive those who detained me," Tam-Baryoh told Reuters after his release late on Friday.

Tam-Baryoh said he still did not know what he said to elicit the accusations against him, and had not been given any reason for his release. Authorities did not comment.

Days after his arrest, Attorney General Frank Kargbo said Tam-Baryoh had "made disparaging and inflammatory statements" about the fight against Ebola and accused him of inciting "public hatred, disaffection and instability".

Tam-Baryoh said he must report to the police every Monday morning.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)