Media rights organizations call on Sierra Leone to release editor arrested for article

The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists are calling on Sierra Leone authorities to release the managing editor of a local daily newspaper.

The groups said Saturday that Jonathan Leigh of the Independent Observer was arrested Thursday on accusations of publishing false information.

Kelvin Lewis, president of the Sierra Leone association, says Leigh was denied bail. He said he was told Leigh would be charged Monday. If found guilty he could be fined and given up to two years in prison.

The front-page article was about reports of political violence ahead of local by-elections.

The groups called for Leigh's immediate release, saying his harassment undermines Sierra Leone's freedom of press.