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Togo19 August 2002

Editor of Le Scorpion released provisionnally

08.19.2002 -

Basile Agboh was released provisionally on 16 August, after being held for 60 days for "defamation and attacking (a person’s) honour".

06.7.2002 - Editor of Le Scorpion jailed in Lomé

Reporters Without Borders has protested to the Togolese authorities following the arrest of Basile Agboh, editor of the weekly Le Scorpion. "The Togolese government is once again using strong-arm tactics to suppress the opposition press. Four journalists were jailed in the country last year, notably for having denounced corruption cases. High officials from the state are always responsible for these arrests. This time, your own son filed a complaint," stated Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Robert Ménard in a letter to Togolese President Gnassingbé Eyadéma. "We remind you that the United Nations has noted that as a penalty for peacefully expressing an opinion, imprisonment constitutes a serious human rights violation," added Ménard. The organisation urged the president to use his influence with his son and See to it that he drops his legal action against Agboh and obtain his immediate release.

According to information collected by Reporters Without Borders, Agboh and one of his reporters were arrested by the Lomé police on 5 June 2002. The reporter was released the next day, but Agboh was transferred to the Lomé civilian prison. The journalist is accused of "attacking [a person’s] honour" because he published an article in which it was reported that Prime Minister Gabriel Kodjo stated that he had received "open death threats from Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Gnassingbé." According to Le Scorpion, the head of state’s eldest son has accused the prime minister of supporting a government official who is critical of President Eyadéma’s policies. The president’s son denied issuing threats and filed a complaint against the weekly.

Reporters Without Borders recalls that President Eyadéma is included on the organisation’s list of 38 international press freedom predators.

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