One of Liberia's leading local daily newspapers has been shut down
after its publisher was jailed for libel over a report about
government corruption, its staff told AFP on Tuesday.
Rodney Sieh, managing director of Frontpage Africa, was taken into
custody on Wednesday last week following a Supreme Court ruling that
the paper should pay US $1.6 million (1.2 million euros) for libelling
former agriculture minister J. Chris Toe.
The court ordered that the paper be closed down until the damages are
paid in full.
"Law enforcement officers closed our offices on Friday. So I will say
that today makes it two days since we stopped publishing," Wade
Williams, one of the paper's editors, told AFP.
"The workers have all stopped coming to work because the building was
locked by the court."
Toe successfully sued the paper after Sieh wrote a story in 2009
accusing the minister of stealing government funds.
Williams said Sieh had been on hunger strike since his arrest on
Wednesday last week.
"He has not been eating at all. People are talking to him to eat but
he has categorically refused to do so. We are very worried because his
condition is getting worse by the day," Williams said.
Frontpage has been vociferous in its criticism of the government of
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in recent years.
Sieh is expected to remain incarcerated until he pays the damages or