Sylvestre Djahlin Nicoué

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Nicoué, director of the private weekly Courrier du Citoyen, was arrested in the capital, Lomé, after he published an editorial in that day’s edition of the newspaper arguing that if the government did not take swift measures to institute democratic reforms in the country, the Togolese people would rebel in 2003. Nicoué was accused of “inciting armed rebellion against the state” and was detained at police headquarters.

Local sources said that representatives of Togolese journalists’ organizations attempted to intervene on Nicoué’s behalf by meeting with President Gnassingbé Eyadéma. Hopes for negotiating the journalist’s release were dashed, however, when the Courrier du Citoyen published a critical article in its January 2, 2003, edition titled “Kill Us All and Reign Over Our Dead Bodies.” The following day, authorities transferred Nicoué to Lomé Prison.