On the 19th December 2019, investigative journalist Ignace Sossou was imprisoned for 18 months by a court in Benin. The Benin government prosecutor, Mario Metonou, alleged that Sossou had posted incorrect and defamatory information on Twitter and Facebook during a conference at which Metonou gave a speech. Sossou was arrested, put on trial and convicted of harassment under Benin’s new digital media laws.

Human Rights groups, including Amnesty International, immediately claimed that Mr Sossou was being arbitrarily detained and launched a campaign to free him. The case was then investigated by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a body of human rights experts that investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention.

This month, the Working Group released its report on the case. It found that Mr Sossou was arrested an imprisoned in violation of international laws. It called on the government of Benin to compensate Mr Sossou for the violations.

Henri Thulliez, William Bourdon and Elise le Gall – three of Mr Sossou’s lawyers, issued a written statement, in which they said:

“This decision sends a strong message to all those who courageously work in the service of freedom of expression. Mr Sossou’s case must set a precedent. No responsible journalist should find himself arbitrarily imprisoned.”


Find a word in the text which means:

1. Something said to have happened without being formally proved.

2. Something said or written which might damage the character or reputation of someone.

3. Words or behaviour that are offensive, or words or behaviour that annoys or upsets someone.

4. An adverb meaning done without reason, proper authority, or justification.

5. To give someone something, usually money, because they have had something wrong done to them (for example, suffered an injury, damage, or loss).


1. alleged

2. defamatory

3. harassment

4. arbitrarily

5. compensate

© Cambridge Legal English Academy

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