The NGO denounces the "impunity" of their authors, as well as the obstacles to freedom of expression in the run-up to the presidential election of 2020.

The World with AFP Posted today at 12h42

Time to Reading 2 min.

Abidjan Detention and Correction Center (MACA), Côte d'Ivoire, in September 2018.
Abidjan Detention and Correctional Facility (MACA), Côte d'Ivoire, September 2018. SIA KAMBOU / AFP

Arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, harassment of the opposition, civil society and critical media: Amnesty International takes stock of the attacks on freedom of expression in Côte d'Ivoire, in a report published Monday (February 11th) approach to the 2020 presidential election.

"Seven years after the post-election crisis, which claimed the lives of 3,000 people, Côte d'Ivoire projects an image of relative stability favored by a [forte] economic growth […] and a return to the international scene ", the NGO writes in this document titled "The human rights situation remains fragile".

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"The use of repressive laws to crush the right to freedom of expression results in the arbitrary detention of many citizens"says François Patuel, researcher on West Africa at Amnesty International.

"Excessive force"

"At least 17 arbitrary detentions of journalists and bloggers have been recorded in the last five years and the National Press Council has repeatedly sanctioned press organizations, imposing publication interruptions and heavy fines", targeting "Publications critical of the authorities and relatives of opposition movements"said the organization on the occasion of the release of its report.

"Political opponents are also the target of judicial harassment, because they express their opinions," added the NGO. Thus, at the end of January, the deputy Alain Lobognon, "Charged with disclosure of false news and incitement to revolt, was sentenced to one year in prison".

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Furthermore, "Peaceful meetings [à l’initiative d’]civil society organizations and [de] Opposition groups are routinely banned and dispersed by the police and the gendarmerie, who use excessive force "Amnesty notes in its report, citing the case of a March 2018 demonstration of which 40 participants, including a leader of an opposition party, were arrested. "Human rights defenders are often threatened and their offices regularly robbed. In the last four years, the offices of six major organizations [actives dans ce domaine] were sacked "worries the NGO.

It records cases of torture "In particular to the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST), police stations and gendarmerie". And alarmed "Inhumane prison conditions" in the country, stressing that"At least 152 deaths in custody have been recorded since August 2014," according to his investigations.

"End arbitrary arrests"

Amnesty International also denounces the"Impunity" of the perpetrators of human rights violations: "Although President Alassane Ouattara has pledged to ensure fair justice during his tenure, only people suspected of supporting Laurent Gbagbo have been tried for serious human rights abuses during and after the election. [présidentielle] of 2010. "

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While "Members of the Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI), […] faithful to President Ouattara, have not been brought to justice, despite being suspected of having committed serious human rights abuses, with more than 800 people killed in Duékoué [ouest] in April 2011 ". "Several leaders [des] FRCI accused of crimes against humanity currently occupy important positions within the security forces and some of them have risen in rank in January 2017 ", even reports the NGO in its report.

On the occasion of the publication of this document, Amnesty International called on the Ivorian authorities to "Stop arbitrary arrests and harassment" dissenting voices, and called for the immediate release of prisoners of conscience.

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