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Amnesty International calls for a boycott of arrest warrants against convicted Togolese journalists.Ichirome

Amnesty International announced on Friday that it disagrees with Togo’s authorities after it sentenced two journalists, Ferdinand Ayite and Isidore Kouwonou, to three years’ imprisonment and a fine. International non-governmental organizations focused on human rights therefore challenge countries hosting journalists forced into exile not to honor arrest warrants issued against them..

“The heavy sentences of two journalists who made critical remarks against two ministers in 2021 deal a heavy blow to freedom of expression, which is already at its lowest point.” West and Central Africa, Amnesty International Fabian Offner, a researcher at the firm, says:

On March 15, 2023, the Lomé court of first instance sentenced Isidore Kouwonou, editor-in-chief of the biweekly L’Alternative, and Ferdinand Ayité, the newspaper’s publishing director, to three years in prison and a fine of nearly US$5,000. handed over. Dollars for insulting representatives of public authorities and disseminating false information, as confirmed by Amnesty International lawyers.

In a program titled ‘The Rotor Journal’ broadcast on Youtube on 30 November 2021, Isidore Kouwonou, Ferdinand Aite and Joël Vignon Egger, publication director of the Fraternité newspaper, called two ministers of the Togo government ‘ It was described as a false type. , thieves, corrupt, embezzlers of state money,” the organization consulted, as indicated in the subpoena.

Amnesty International recalls that, according to the principles of international human rights law, contempt and false statements should not be subject to prison sentences if they are characterized.

International arrest warrants were issued against two prisoners abroad at the time of the trial. NGOs have called on the countries involved in this arrest warrant not to enforce it because of the high risk of arbitrary detention.

“Amnesty International urges the Togolese authorities to support freedom of expression and freedom of information by decriminalizing crimes of any opinion, whatever its means of communication, in accordance with the Constitution and international instruments for the protection of human rights to which Togo has ratified. We seek to protect theFabian Offner

In addition, the organization has informed the authorities that the press code and law No. 2019-009 on internal security “ensure that journalists can carry out their duties with complete peace of mind, under certain conditions, the freedom of expression and the press.” It limits freedom.”

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