A tweet that has been deemed to be spreading fake news has landed Ivorian lawmaker Alain Lobognon in jail. He was given a 12-month sentence and was fined 300,000 FCFA ($520).
Lobognon's tweet on 9 January gave the impression that the state prosecutor had ordered the arrest of a fellow MP. Lobognon wrote that his counterpart MP Ehouo Jacques, cited in an embezzlement case, had been arrested. But the prosecutor refuted this claim. The tweet had already caused some demonstrations and violent clashes.
It is being said that MP Lobognon is reportedly a close ally of the opposition leader Guillaume Soro. Soro is said to have lobbied for the release of Alassane Ouattara.
Lobognon believes that his case has political undertones. He has been on a hunger strike for 10 days.
His lawyer, Affoussiata Bamba Lamine, said that the case was a politically-motivated one because of the closeness between Soro and Lobognon. She said that they would appeal the matter.
The lawyer is also of the view that since Lobognon is currently a Member of Parliamant, he must be shielded from all these legal problems by immunity.
Alassane Ouattara and Soro are reportedly not in good books with each other, as elections in Ivory Coast are being scheduled for next year.
Header image credit: Afrinik