Rights groups say Togo govt doctored torture report

By Staff Reporter
AFP Global Edition

Feb 24, 2012 08:42 EST

Eight human rights organisations in Togo Friday called on the government to step down for "doctoring" a report into the torture of dozens of suspects held over a coup plot.

"It is not possible in a normal country, that a government could be behind the doctoring of an official document. We believe that this government must resign," Zeus Ajavon, coordinator of the rights groups, told a private radio Victoire FM.

Authorities in this small West African country had tasked the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) to probe torture claims by several suspects held over an alleged 2009 coup plot.

The suspects told a court during their trial in September that they were tortured while in the detention of the country's state security agency.

On Sunday the government published on its website a report said to be from the human rights body, dismissing the torture allegations.

But a day later, the CNDH published what it said was the authentic report. It said its investigations had established detainees suffered "acts of physical violence, and inhuman and degrading treatment."

Ajavon vowed that the rights activists would bring to justice everyone who tampered with the rights body report and those involved in the torture sessions.

The Supreme court in September sentenced 33 accused, including President Faure Gnassingbe's half-brother to a range of jail terms over an alleged 2009 coup plot in the West African nation.

Kpatcha Gnassingbe, thought to be the mastermind of the coup plot, was jailed for 20 years for attempted violation of state security. Others were handed shorter prison sentences.

The rights groups have planned to call for a demonstration next Friday to demand the government's resignation.

Source: AFP Global Edition


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