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Rights body denounces torture in Togo, authorities deny claim

Togo has “categorically” denied accusations of detention and torture by a human rights group, describing them as “fallacious”. A report by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), received by IRIN on Wednesday, claimed Togolese citizens were being arbitrarily detained and tortured. But, according to AFP, the chief prosecutor of Lome’s Court of Appeal said FIDH investigators “who benefited from all facilities during their stay in Togo...never told the authorities of their observations and conclusions...so that an immediate verification could be conducted in their presence”.

The FIDH report, which was prompted by controversial presidential elections last year, said detainees were often held without being charged or brought to trial. “Witnesses speak of detention and torture centres operated by the national police” outside the control of the penal authorities, it stated. It added that poor working conditions meant the Togolese justice system was not equipped to conduct investigations. The report further described jails as filthy and overcrowded. In Lome prison for example, many of the sick inmates died from malnutrition and lack of medical care. The report warned that the uncertain political climate in Togo could limit individual freedom and further aggravate the human rights situation.

But the prosecutor rejected the claim of arbitrary detentions. “Everything supports the belief that these inaccuracies and untruths bely a deliberate will to discredit Togo...on the eve of legislative elctions”, he said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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