Annual Report: Madagascar 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Madagascar 2010

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  • Photojournalist Ando Ratovonirina was among at least 31 people killed by Marc Ravalomanana's Presidential Guard during a demonstration on 7 February at Ambohitsorohitra presidential palace in Antananarivo. Members of the Presidential Guard fired live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators approaching the palace. Scores of people were also injured.
  • In April, at least four supporters of former President Ravalomanana were killed and 70 wounded by HAT security forces during demonstrations in Antananarivo.

Arbitrary arrests and detentions

Political opponents of President Ravalomanana's government were arbitrarily arrested before the HAT came to power, and after March supporters of former President Ravalomanana were arbitrarily arrested and detained by HAT security forces, especially by members of the CNME and FIS. Some people arrested during demonstrations were held for months without trial.

  • On 20 February, Jean Théodore Rajivenson, lecturer at the University of Antananarivo and supporter of Andry Rajoelina, was arrested and charged with endangering state security, participating in unauthorized demonstrations and arson. He was acquitted by an Antananarivo court and released on 19 March.
  • On 29 April, Manandafy Rakotonirina, who had been designated Prime Minister by Marc Ravalomanana on 10 April, was arrested by the CNME at Hotel Carlton in Antananarivo along with at least six other people. All were charged with illegal gathering, damage to public property and illegal possession of firearms. Manandafy Rakotonirina was also charged with impersonating the prime minister. On 23 September, he was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of two years; the other six received suspended sentences of between six and 12 months. They were all released.
  • Senator Naike Eliane was arrested on 12 September and accused, among other things, of participating in an unauthorized demonstration. She was released on 22 September. Her trial was continuing.

Freedom of expression – journalists

Media outlets and journalists were targeted by officials before and after the HAT come to power. Journalists received threats via their mobile phones and some went into hiding. In January, the Ravalomanana government closed down Radio Viva; it had already closed Tele Viva on 13 December 2008. Both are owned by Andry Rajoelina. The HAT closed down private television station Tele Mada and Radio Mada, both owned by former President Ravalomanana in March, followed by other pro-Ravalomanana media outlets.

  • Evariste Anselme Ramanantsoavi, a journalist with Radio Mada, was arrested by HAT security officers on 5 May and charged with endangering state security and spreading false information. He was released on 20 May after a court sentenced him to a fine of 1 million ariary (around 385 euros). After he appealed, he started to receive anonymous threats by telephone.

Unfair trials

On 3 June, an Antananarivo criminal court sentenced in their absence former President Ravalomanana and his Minister of Finance, Haja Nirina Razafinjatovo, to four years in prison and a fine of US$70 million for compensation for alleged abuse of office. The trial was not made public and the defendants could not challenge the accusations.

Amnesty International visit/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Madagascar in June.

Madagascar: Investigate killings by security forces (13 February 2009)
Madagascar: Human rights overlooked in resolving the current political crisis (6 July 2009)