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Declaration of the Citizen front Togo Debout and Tournons La Page Togo denouncing the judicial harassment against Ferdinand M. Ayité
Communiqué  Posté le 14:48 09-03-2023, modifié le 14:48 09-03-2023 par Tournons la Page

« Those who fear us use means to destroy us that are equal to the fear we inspire in them. » Alain Leblay


For the past few days, a worrying news has been circulating on the web and has even been reported by some newspapers : the disappearance of the investigative journalist Ferdinand Mensah Ayité, director of publishing director of the newspaper L'Alternative. According to information being circulated, he was to respond to a summons from the the Central Criminal Research and Investigation Service on Sunday, March 5, 2023, "for the necessities of a judicial investigation. So where is Ferdinand Mensah Ayité? Is he in good health? There is great concern among the population, especially since the disappearance of journalists can lead to serious tragedies, as was recently the case in Cameroon.

It will be recalled that in December 2021, Ferdinand Mensah Ayité and Joël Vignon Egah were placed under arrest for "defamation and contempt of authority". Many had denounced an action of instrumentalizing the justice system and Amnesty International denounced the "arbitrary detention" of the two critical journalists against the Togolese government.

Why this judicial harassment against Ferdinand Mensah Ayité, especially since Joël Vignon Egah died suddenly, two months after his release from prison? Did Ferdinand Mensah Ayité feel in danger? Did he go into hiding? Was he forced to disappear? Even if there has been a sign of life in the meantime, even if some "apparently well-informed networks" link his disappearance to a to a case of fraud, the justice system of our country must get its act together and stop appearing to everyone as a repressive tool against those who say No: No to corruption, No to arbitrariness in Togo!

This situation worries and challenges us, especially since there is a strange atmosphere in the country: Togolese diaspora wishing to spend a few days in Togo take care to report to the chancellery authorities of their of their country; others avoid going out at sunset or rarely leave the quiet of their homes.

Why this kind of psychosis, why do citizens have to return to the country with fear in their bodies, why do Togolese have to put up a fight when they return to Togo? Why???

In a difficult socio-political-security context marked by terrorist incursions in the north of the country, it is important for the government not to add to this and to reassure people's minds and hearts:

  • It is necessary to put an end to the judicial harassment of journalists, and in particular of Ferdinand Mensah Ayité.
  • The judicial harassment of human rights defenders must be stopped.
  • We must stop using the Togolese justice system as an instrument and work instead to restore its tarnished image.
  • We must stop using justice to deprive Togolese who want more democracy and dignity of their freedom and put justice at the service of the law and the fight against corruption.
  • It is necessary to put an end to what looks like a politics of fear and to support actions in order to reinforce national cohesion: the social fabric is dilapidated and it is necessary to reconstitute it.

The Citizen's Front Togo Debout and Tournons La Page Togo express their sympathy to Ferdinand Mensah Ayité and say stop the judicial harassment in Togo!


Done at Lome on 09/03/2023