Torture and Brutality Continues in Togo Under Faure Gnassingbé

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Friends and family trying to save a wounded protester

The Togolese Civil League was recently able to obtain a message from Mr. Abdoul Aziz Goma, who is a citizen of Ireland. Goma was arrested in December of last year. Goma was accused of being involved in a plot to destabilize the government, although no proof of this was presented. The night that Goma was arrested, he was handcuffed to a tree and beaten, along with his brother. For 27 days they were locked up in a dark room where they were not allowed to shower or brush their teeth. They were also barely fed.

The Togolese Civil League’s Executive Director, Farida Nabourema, explained:

To date, M. Goma and several other prisoners remain held in prison cells all over the country under fallacious accusations. They have not been tried nor been granted legal representation. There is an estimate of 60 political prisoners in Togo and at least 40 are members of the PNP opposition party which the regime intends to crush due to the role they played in the massive protests that sparked August 2017 and eventually led to months of nationwide upheaval against the regime of Faure Gnassingbe.

The government of Togo has been working to improve its international image, even going so far as to pay Global Specialty LLC $1,500 an hour to help improve its image to the international community. The problem is that the Togolese government wants a clean image without actually ceasing these abuses and violations of human rights.

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Prisons in Togo are notorious for the horrific conditions which exist there. Prisons in Togo are overcrowded and the poor conditions of these prisons that have led to diseases. Prisoners are reduced to bribing prison guards to take showers or use the toilet. Women in these prisons are sexually abused as well.

Last year Dr. Ihou Wateba was arrested and tortured until he suffered a stroke. This is the type of brutality that the regime in Togo has regularly inflicted on its citizens over the last 52 years that the Gnassingbé family has been in power. Protesters in Togo are often killed by gunfire or beaten to death by the security forces. The victims of the regime in Togo has even included children, such as Anselme Sinandaré, who was shot and killed in 2013. A child was also among the victims who were killed during the protests in December last year. These are the kinds of atrocities that the government of Togo hopes the rest of the world will ignore.

Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) is a Guyanese born Pan-Africanist, author, and law student.

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