Ireland demands protection of one of its citizens jailed in Togo

Ireland urges the Togolese authorities to investigate allegations of torture against one of its citizens, Abdoul-Aziz Goma, a 52-year-old man originally from Togo, jailed for 3 years without trial.

According to the Irish media, the country’s foreign ministry is now urging the Togolese authorities to protect him and investigate the allegations that he has been tortured.

According to the same sources, Abdoul-Aziz Goma was living between Ireland and the United Kingdom at the end of 2018 when he returned to visit and was arrested.

“He has remained in prison, without trial, since his arrest, accused of helping to provide support to young demonstrators who had gathered in Lomé, the Togolese capital, to oppose the continued reign of President Faure Gnassingbé “.

The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that it is aware of Mr. Goma’s continued detention and is raising his case with the Togolese authorities. Correspondence from a department official, seen by The Irish Times, indicates that his consular office issued a diplomatic note on the case to the Togolese embassy in London.

He called on the Togolese authorities to ensure that “all possible assistance” is provided “for the protection” of Mr. Goma. He also called for a “thorough investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Goma”.

Mr. Goma wrote an account of his arrest and continued detention, describing the torture to which he said he was subjected. “His story was prepared for submission to the National Human Rights Commission in Togo”.

He allegedly said that at the time of his arrest with two other people in Lomé, he had been severely beaten and handcuffed while driving a car by members of the security services who he said used sticks and batons to hit him. “He added that he was also beaten by police officers with the butts of their rifles and that he had been mock executions while in police custody.”

Deteriorating health

According to related reports, Mr. Goma claims that his hands, feet and shins were targeted, resulting in serious injuries to his back and feet, which means he now has to use a wheelchair. A local source in Togo said Mr. Goma’s health had deteriorated dramatically in recent months, requiring his hospitalization.

Irish politician, from the electoral alliance called Solidarity-People Before Profit TD, Paul Murphy said he had learned of Mr Goma’s case in recent weeks and subsequently raised it with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. He said he feared Mr Goma was an Irish citizen held for three years without trial, but it appeared his case had apparently gone unnoticed in the Republic.

The allegations of torture are very serious and this is something the Irish government must defend very strongly with the Togolese authorities, said Mr Murphy. “We have to make sure he gets a fair trial and a fair trial for that, or that he’s released,” Murphy said.

The Foreign Ministry said it was “aware of this matter and is providing consular assistance” but will not comment on specific details.

Consular assistance was provided through the Consular Assistance Unit in Dublin, the Irish Embassy in Abuja and with the assistance of the French Embassy in Togo, as Ireland does not have a diplomatic representation. in the country.

Four Charges

Mr. Goma faces four charges: “endangering the safety and security of the State; aid to a criminal group; destruction of public property; and association with activism and radicalism. ”

He was among a large number taken into custody as police and military cracked down on protesters and banned their gatherings.

However, he said he had not attended any protests at the time. Instead, he offered to help a number of young people who found themselves with no place to stay and no money when the people they had agreed to meet in Lomé could not be contacted.

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