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Rosewood trafficing in Madagascar and the criminalization of an activist

Six months in prison. That’s the sentence received by environmental activist Armand Marozafy for defamation against two local tour operators accused of rosewood trafficking. Armand is assistant coordinator of Lampogno Network, a coalition of several EJOs in Maroantsetra in the Northeast of Madagascar, who tries to stop the illegal logging in the Masoala region.

Last February, Armand Marozafy received a confidential report where these two tour operators are accused  to be involved in the illegal and lucrative trade. According to the activist, this text was published by other people on their social networks. But then, the two tour operators complained at the Court of Maroantsetra. Armand Marozafy has been jailed in late April, before being sentenced Friday May 22nd to six months in prison and 12 million ariary (about € 4,000) in damages.

The sentence is too heavy for Armand Marozafy, eco-tourist guide and environmental activist. “This is a maneuver to prevent people from talking,” accuses his colleague Clovis Razafimalala and member of the same organization fighting against rosewood traffic. “In this region, the law of the strongest applies” said Ndranto Razakamanarina, president of the Environmental civil society Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG). He added: “So far, no major traffickers were put in prison. Only the people who fight against trafficking are condemned. “

An open letter published by the AVG challenges the Minister of Justice and all judges of the country on the implementation of the law for environmental offenses. In the letter, AVG mentioned three recent cases, including this one with Armand Marozafy, and asked for an explanation. “We do not understand some of the reasoning of the Justice in Madagascar,” the organization wrote. For the moment, Ministry officials were still unreachable.

More info

Background information on the rosewood trafficking in Madagascar is available in the Atlas of Environmental Justice.

Press article in the Madagascar Tribute on the liberty of expression in this case

Free Armand



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