Amnesty calls for release of prisoners

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which has been critical of arrests of political activists in Togo, has called on President Gnassingbe Eyadema to release two activists detained recently.

The detentions of opposition leader, Yawovi Agboyibo, and Togolese student union leader, Hounjo Mawudzuro, for purportedly criticising the current regime represents an ongoing pattern of human rights violations in Togo over 30 years, Amnesty said. It urged France, Togo's biggest donor, to utilise Eyadema's current week-long visit to France, to exert pressure for their release, BBC reported on Tuesday.

Agboyibo, a past president of Togo's bar association, is currently serving a six-month jail
sentence for libeling current Prime Minister Mensan Kodjo. He was sentenced in August for accusing Kodjo of association with suspected criminals when he was head of the Lome port in 1998. Mawudzuro was jailed earlier this month for accusing paramilitary police of torture when they detained him in September.