The trial of Togolese journalists postponed to March 15


The trial of the three Togolese journalists Ferdinand Ayité and Isidore Kouwonou including Joël Egah, who died but also summoned, is finally postponed to March 15, 2023 following a request of the defendants’ lawyer.

According to our information, Isidore Kouwonou, the editor in chief of the newspaper L’Alternative, went to the Lomé court this morning with his lawyer Elom Kpadé. He was there alone, Ferdinand Ayité being missing since Sunday March 5.

The judge wanted to open the file to start the trial. But the journalist’s lawyer asked for a dismissal. At first, the magistrate refused, arguing that the public prosecutor wanted the trial to start on March 8 at all costs. Finally the council managed to have the postponement of a week.

The case in question opposes the two personalities and the ministers Kodjo Adedze trade, industry and local consumption and his colleague of Justice Pius Agbetomey. The latter believe they are defamed in “L’Autre Journal”, a program presented on the Youtube channel of L’Alternative. In particular, they deplore what they call “contempt of authority and the spread of false statements on social media”.

In this case, Ferdinand Ayité and Joël Egah spent twenty days in the prison of Lomé before being released on December 31, 2022. About two months after their release from prison, Joël Egah died from a heart attack.

Among others, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), called on Togolese authorities to drop all legal proceedings against journalists.

“Togolese authorities should immediately cease their legal harassment of journalists Ferdinand Ayité and Isidore Kouwonou and allow them to work freely,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in New York.

“Journalistic commentary on issues of public interest should never be criminalized, and the summonses issued to these journalists should be scrapped at once.”, read a statement published on Monday by the US-based NGO.

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