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UA 422/91 - Togo: legal concern: Joseph Kokou Koffigoh

, N° d'index: AFR 57/005/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 57/05/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 422/91 Legal Concern 3 December 1991
TOGO: Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, Prime Minister of Togo
Joseph Kokou Koffigoh was arrested at his Prime Ministerial residence on 3
December and is being held by members of the armed forces. A lawyer and former
President of the Ligue togolaise des droits de l'homme, Togolese Human Rights
League, he was appointed Prime Minister of Togo's transitional government in
August 1991. Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience
held on account of his non-violent political activities and is appealing for
his immediate and unconditional release. Other leading political figures have
been asked to report to army headquarters.
Joseph Kokou Koffigoh's arrest followed several days' negotiations about the
political future of the country between himself and President Eyadema after
the army seized power on 28 November 1991. During this period, the armed forces
surrounded his residence and took control of the national radio. In seizing
power, the army rejected recent political reforms including a civilian
transitional government introduced in mid-1991 by a national conference of
advocates of democracy. In a public statement made by the army, former Minister
of Defence, General Mawulikplimi Ameyi, spoke in support of President Eyadema,
dissolved the transitional government and annulled all decisions taken by the
national conference, but he said that authorised political parties would be
able to function and that the draft constitution would remain in effect.
On 27 November, there was violent unrest in Lomé, following an order made the
previous day by the transitional parliament banning the Rassemblement du Peuple
Togolais, (RPT), the former ruling party. Soldiers loyal to President Eyadema
briefly occupied the national radio and television stations to demand that
the ban be lifted.
Amnesty International appealed to President Eyadema on 28 November to ensure
that no-one was arrested on account of their non-violent political activities,
that anyone arrested on criminal charges should be brought promptly and fairly
to trial, and that the security forces should be instructed that human rights
violations, including extrajudicial executions and torture, constitute
criminal offences.
Between March and June 1991, growing opposition to President Eyadema's
government saw numerous demonstrations and strikes calling for political
reforms promised in 1990 and a National Conference to discuss such reforms.
After months of violent confrontations, the government agreed to introduce
a multi-party political system and hold a National Conference - this ran from
July to August 1991. It examined human rights violations since President
Eyadema came to power in 1967 and elected Joseph Kokou Koffigoh as Prime
Minister. He nominated a transitional government to take executive decisions
until elections in early 1992 with President Eyadema remaining as Head of State
during this transitional period. Both the President and the Prime Minister
were to be barred from standing for Presidential election. During and since
the National Conference, the army
has tried to halt the process of reform, and in October made an earlier attempt
to kidnap Prime Minister Koffigoh.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
Please write courteously worded appeals, in French if possible:
- expressing concern at the arrest on 3 December 1991 of Prime Minister Koffigoh
by members of the armed forces;
- seeking assurances that he is not subjected to any form of ill-treatment
or torture while he remains in custody and that he is allowed visits by his
relatives and legal counsel;
- explaining that Amnesty International believes Prime Minister Koffigoh to
be a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely on account of his non-violent
political activities, and urging that he should be released unconditionally
and immediately;
- seeking information about whether other people have been arrested in this
context and assurances that they too will be protected from ill-treatment and
allowed visits while in custody.
Son Excellence Monsieur le Général Gnassingbé EYADEMA Monsieur le
Président de la République Président
Palais présidentiel Dear President
Avenue de la Marina
Telegrams: President Eyadema, Lome, Togo
Telexes: 5201 presitogo
Général Mawulikplimi Ameyi Monsieur le Général
Camp militaire Tokoin Dear General
Boulevard des Armées
Telegrams: General Ameyi, Camp militaire Tokoin, Lome, Togo
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Togo in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 January 1992.

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