Liberia court closes libel case against editor, ending episode that drew international outcry

A Liberian editor jailed earlier this year in a libel case says a court in Monrovia has formally closed proceedings against him, ending an episode that tarnished President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's press freedom record.

Rodney Sieh, publisher and editor of the privately-owned newspaper FrontPageAfrica, was jailed in August after failing to pay $1.5 million awarded to former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe. In 2010, Sieh's newspaper published allegations from the country's anti-corruption watchdog that Toe's ministry could not account for millions of dollars.

Sieh was granted "compassionate release" last month after being hospitalized with malaria.

Reporters Without Borders said last week that Toe was withdrawing his libel claim.

Sieh told The Associated Press Monday the case was formally closed and he was only required to pay a court fee of $350.