Togolese Journalists Jailed Over Defamation

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No fewer than two Togolese journalists have been indicted and jailed in Lomé on Wednesday, accused of “defamation” after claiming on social networks that a minister had had the equivalent of 600,000 euros stolen from his home, their relatives said.

According to a local newspaper, identified as Flambeau des Démocrates, and Anani Sossou, a freelance journalist, were taken into custody on Monday.

They are being prosecuted for “defamation and attack on the honor of the Minister and incitement to revolt”, for having claimed on social networks that the Minister of Urban Planning, Housing and Land Reform, Kodjo Adedze, had had 400 million FCFA (604,875 euros) stolen from his home.

The Minister, who had indeed reported the burglary to the police without the amount being made public, had complained about them.

On Monday, the journalists retracted their claims, explaining on Facebook that “extensive investigations” had shown that “the amount communicated was overestimated and would not reach the sum of 400 million FCFA”.

“The two journalists were taken to the prison (in Lomé) on Wednesday at around 10am. They appeared before the first deputy on Tuesday evening, who interviewed them for around thirty minutes, before referring them to the examining magistrate who issued them with a committal order”, Magloire Têko Kinvi, editor-in-chief of Le Flambeau des Démocrates, said.