Augustin Amégah, managing editor of the Le Reporter des Temps Nouveaux newspaper, who had been in hiding since April 18 2002 for fear of his life, has been arrested by personnel of Togo’s national gendarmerie. According to close family sources, Mr. Amégah was arrested in the morning of Monday, April 29, 2002 while on his way to a clinic to visit his wife who had delivered.
It would be recalled that Mr. Amégah was forced into hiding after his newspaper had published comments reportedly made by two unnamed officers of the Togo National Armed Forces. The article had implied that at least one person within the army disagreed with the habitual seizures of newspapers by General Sizing Akawilou Walla, Minister of the Interior and Security. State security authorities sought to compel Mr. Amégah to disclose the names of the unidentified army officers. (For further information on the fast degenerating situation of media rights in Togo, see MFWA’s Alerts of April 22 and 29).
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is deeply distressed by the continued wave of abuses of media rights and freedom of expression in the Republic of Togo, and urges the government to immediately free the detained
editor, respect the freedom of the media and protect the rights of journalists. The MFWA also appeals to you to condemn the arrest of Mr. Amégah, the repeated seizures of newspaper publications, and similar acts that undermine the development of a free and vibrant media culture that is necessary for genuine democracy in Togo.