1 June 2004


Journalist arrested

Incident details

Leroy Noel

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(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced deep concern about the detention of journalist Leroy Noel on 27 May 2004. Noel was interrogated about his sources for a report on an alleged corruption case implicating Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.

"The arrest, detention and interrogation undergone by this journalist constitute a serious violation of press freedom," the organisation said.

Leroy Noel was held at police headquarters in St. George's and questioned about a report published on 19 May in the online newspaper "Caribbean Net News" entitled, "Days numbered for Grenada prime minister?".

The journalist was finally released after four hours of interrogation, but his lawyer, Anselm Clouden, told the online daily "Caribupdate" that there was a strong possibility "he may be rearrested and charged, possibly with criminal libel."

Leroy Noel is the third person to be detained in the last two days for questioning about published reports concerning the alleged corruption case. Government Information Service Director Selwyn Noel had warned the news media not to repeat claims made on 15 May in the Miami-based newspaper "KYC News" that US$500,000 exchanged hands in 2000 between Keith Mitchell and a German businessman, Eric Resteiner. Prime Minister Mitchell had appointed Resteiner to a diplomatic post, which was subsequently revoked in 2001. Resteiner is now being prosecuted in the United States.

Leroy Noel's detention came two days after Mitchell threatened him in public. "Caribupdate" said the journalist is on a blacklist of six news media figures who are likely to be detained soon. The country's main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, said the government is "moving aggressively to also silence the local media."


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org

Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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