Activist Folly Satchivi released from prison, three activists denied entry to Togo

Association

Release of activist Folly Satchivi after more than a year in prison

On 16th October 2019, activist, youth leader and HRD Folly Satchivi of the movement En Aucun Cas was released from prison following a presidential pardon issued by President Fauré Gnassingbé. As reported previously on the Monitor, Satchivi was arrested on 22nd August 2018 while on his way the offices of an NGO in Bè-Gakpoto in Lomé where he was to hold a press conference, deemed 'illegal' by authorities. In January 2019, he was sentenced to a heavy prison term of 36 months, of which 12 months were suspended. 

A week prior to the presidential pardon, on 10th October 2019, the Appeal Court in Lomé partially overturned the ruling by a lower court  in January 2019 for the offence of 'aggravated disturbance of public order' in January 2019, but found the activist guilty of 'glorification of crimes and offences', and sentenced him to 28 months in prison, with 6 months suspended. 

Three pro-democracy activists denied entry to Togo

In October 2019, three activists and members of the international pro-democracy movement Tournons la Page (TLPwere denied entry to Togo, where they were to attend a meeting on 15th October 2019 to celebrate two Togolese civil society groups - Front Citoyen Togo Debout (FCTD) and Synergie de l’Intelligentsia pour des Actions en faveur des Droits de l’Homme (SIADH) - joining the TLP movement. Maikoul Zodi, coordinator of TLP Niger and Karim Tanko were stopped at the border and escorted by police officers to Cotonou, Benin. Alexandre Didier Amani, coordinator of TLP Côte d'Ivoire, was stopped from boarding his flight by the airline company. 

Marceau Sivieude of Amnesty International commented

"These three activists must enjoy their freedom of movement in the West African communal space. This ban they were subjected to is part of a tense socio-political context a few months before the presidential election that could allow incumbent President Fauré Gnassingbé to seek a fourth term following the constitutional amendment last May." (translated from French)

Peaceful Assembly

On 27th November 2019, hundreds marched in Lomé to denounce 'the unilateral organisation of the unfair and dishonest presidential electoral process' for the upcoming presidential elections in April 2020. The protest was organised by the Front Citoyen Togo Debout (FCTB), which represents several organisations of Togolese civil society. Prior to the protests, on 21st November 2019, Minister of Territorial Administration Payadowa Boukpessi sent a communication to the organisers modifying the itinerary for the march. Additionally, the Minister accused FCTB of organising the protests 'illegally' as FCTB has 'no legal basis' and further recommended the platform to 'regularise the situation of their association'. The Minister threatened to ban any future protests of FCTB, if they failed to do so. 

Spokesperson for FCTB David Dosseh commented

"We were surprised to receive the letter from the Minister of Territorial Administration still speaking of illegality. I believe given the outcry that his letter has caused, it is easy to understand that it is perhaps the Minister who is in error. We have documents attesting to the legal establishment of the member associations of the Front [FCTB]." (translated from French)