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Nigerian Journalist Kufre Carter Detained for 1 Month, Charged With Defamation and Conspiracy

On April 27, in the southern city of Uyo, officers with Nigeria's Department of State Services arrested Carter, a presenter with the privately owned XL 106.9 FM radio station, when he responded to a summons issued the day before, according to Inibehe Effiong, Carter's lawyer, who spoke to CPJ by phone and messaging app, and reports by the privately owned First Reports and Premium Times news websites.

Authorities barred Carter's lawyer or family from visiting him during his month-long detention, and released him yesterday afternoon on bail, according to a Facebook post by Effiong, who told CPJ that he attempted to meet with Carter multiple times, but was denied by Department of State Services agents.

If convicted, Carter faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison for conspiracy and the same for criminal defamation, and three years' imprisonment for the allegedly false and defamatory First Reports publication, according to the charge sheet and the Akwa Ibom state criminal code, a copy of which CPJ reviewed.

Akwa Ibom State Attorney General Uwemedimo Nwoko told CPJ by phone that the prosecution had a right to appeal Carter's bond conditions, but declined to comment further on the case.

Effiong told CPJ and posted on Twitter on April 27 that the Department of State Services director of operations for Akwa Ibom state, Uchehukwu Nnatube, had called a member of his legal team and requested that Carter's phone be handed over so authorities could "extract" evidence, but later told CPJ that he did not hand over the phone.

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