Togo ALERT: Three journalists under detention

Three private media practitioners, Dimas Dzikodo, Editor, and Philipe Evégnon, Managing Director, of the L’Evénement newspaper and Jean de Dieu Kpakpabia, a reporter with the Nouvel Echo weekly, were arrested and detained over the week-end in Lomé, capital of Togo.

Dzikodo was arrested first on Saturday, June 14, 2003, from an Internet café where he went to scan the pictures of some victims of state security brutality, who had been molested and injured by state security personnel during the last presidential elections held on June 1.

According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Togo sources, state security personnel had been stalking him on the suspicion that he was among an alleged group of informants for some international media and pro-democracy organisations, whose conduct, the government claimed, was designed to bring the name of the country into disrepute.

Evégnon and Kpakpabia were also picked up the following morning, Sunday, June 5 on the same charge. The three have since been under police custody at the headquarters of the bureau of national security in Lomé. According to the Minister of Interior, Security and Decentralisation, Squadron Leader Akila Esso Boko, they are being held for “hatching a plot against the internal security of the country.”

The MFWA is concerned about the poor human rights record of the government of President Gnassingbe Eyadéma in Togo, in particular, the lack of tolerance and respect for the rights of journalists and individuals, to hold, seek, receive and share information, opinions, and ideas without regard to frontiers.

The MFWA urges you to protest the arrest and continued detention of the three journalists.

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