Imprisoned journalists on hunger strike

New York, July 15, 2003—Three imprisoned Togolese journalists announced yesterday morning that they would begin a 48-hour hunger strike to protest their continued detention on charges of “publishing false information and disturbing public order.”

Dimas Dzikodo and Philip Evégnon, editor-in-chief and publication director, respectively, of the private weekly L’Evenement, and Jean de Dieu Kpakpabia, journalist at the private weekly Nouvel Echo, have been in prison for a month.

Togolese sources said that the three journalists have been beaten during their detention. On July 4, the Togolese public prosecutor visited the journalists in prison and asked them to disclose the names of those who had beaten them. The journalists refused, for fear of further reprisals.

Dzikodo was arrested at a cybercafé in the capital, Lomé, on Saturday, June 14, while he was scanning photos of people whom police and government supporters had allegedly manhandled during the June 1 presidential elections. Kpakpabia was arrested at the same cybercafé later that day and was accused by police of trying to send photos with similar content to a Web site outside the country. Evégnon was arrested on June 15; police claim he had directed Dzikodo to scan the photos.