Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Gabon detains anti-corruption activists-French NGOs (Reuters)

Expand Messages
  • bobutne
    Five anti-corruption campaigners in Gabon were arrested just before New Year and are being detained in harsh conditions on unknown charges, non-governmental
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 6, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Five anti-corruption campaigners in Gabon were arrested just before
      New Year and are being detained in harsh conditions on unknown
      charges, non-governmental organisations in France said on Tuesday.
      One of the five, Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, is a plaintiff in a suit filed
      in a French court against Gabonese President Omar Bongo by anti-
      corruption activists who accuse the veteran leader of buying French
      properties with the proceeds of corruption.

      Nine French NGOs said the five Gabonese campaigners were arrested on
      Dec. 30 and 31 and have been held since then without access to their
      lawyers and without being told what are the charges against them.

      "The only 'wrong' these men have committed is to demand that Gabon
      apply rules of good governance as required by its international
      commitments, that is to say transparency and probity in the
      management of public funds," the NGOs said.

      They include the French arm of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency
      International and the campaign group Sherpa, which are also involved
      in the lawsuit against Bongo.

      Gabon's Interior Minister Andre Obame declined to answer reporters'
      questions on Monday about the reason for the arrests.

      Some weeks ago Obame appeared on state TV in Gabon and accused one of
      the detainees, Marc Ona, head of the local branch of Publish What You
      Pay and correspondent for U.S. state-backed radio Voice of America,
      of being politically motivated. Obame said then that "politicised
      NGOs are a threat to the country's internal security".

      The NGOs filed a suit on Dec. 2 accusing Bongo, Africa's longest-
      serving leader, and two other African heads of state of accumulating
      properties in France that could not be financed with their official
      earnings.

      Bongo, who has ruled his oil-producing country since 1967 and placed
      close relatives in key government positions, has denied the
      allegations made against him and threatened to sue the activists for
      defamation. A 2007 French police investigation revealed that he and
      his relatives owned 39 properties in France, mostly in the rich 16th
      district of Paris, as well as 70 bank accounts and nine cars. The
      properties also include luxury villas on the Riviera.

      The French NGOs said that relatives of Ngbwa Mintsa had told them he
      had severe bruising on his legs. The men were being held with hardly
      any clothing in a damp cellar, the groups said. They also said it was
      not known if another of the detainees, Gaston Asseko, was being
      provided with medication he needed after undergoing a recent
      operation. Asseko works for a Catholic radio station, Radio Sainte
      Marie.

      The French press has reported that Bongo, who has cultivated close
      ties with successive French presidents since he came to power and
      regards Paris as a second home, was infuriated by the lawsuit
      concerning his French properties. (Additional reporting by Antoine
      Lawson in Libreville; editing by Alistair Thomson)
    • bobutne
      NGOs protest cancellation of French lawyer s visa to Gabon APA-Libreville (Gabon) Two international NGOs, Sherpa and Transparency International (France)
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 9, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        NGOs protest cancellation of French lawyer's visa to Gabon

        APA-Libreville (Gabon) Two international NGOs, Sherpa and
        Transparency International (France) protested against the Gabonese
        authorities' last minute decision on Thursday to cancel the visa of
        Lawyer Thierry Lévy to prevent him from taking a flight to Libreville
        to represent the Gabonese activists imprisoned for "propaganda".

        The militants of these NGOs were on Wednesday imprisoned in
        Libreville central prison about a case involving the assets of some
        African heads of state including Gabonese President Omar Bongo.

        "It is an unprecedented step which violates the terms of the French-
        Gabonese Convention on mutual legal assistance (1963), insofar as it
        prevents a French lawyer from defending his clients," the two NGOs
        deplored in a release copied to APA.

        "The decision of the Gabonese authorities, which prevents Lawyer Lévy
        from practising, seriously violates the international obligations of
        Gabon and the Gabonese law itself," the Paris-based organisations
        said, adding that "the thus created situation is extremely alarming".

        On 30 and 31 December, intelligence service agents arrested six
        Gabonese civil society members without a warrant and took them to the
        Criminal Investigation Department.

        After more than 48 hours in police custody, Prosecutor Alaba Fall
        Bosco required the opening of an inquiry against five of the
        detainees.

        They are Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, Marc Ona Essangui, George Mpaga,
        Dieudonné Koungou and Gaston Asseko. They were placed under committal
        order, except for Dieudonné Koungou who was granted bail.

        Koungo was placed under committal order and sent to the Libreville
        prison on Wednesday evening.

        They are being prosecuted for possessing a document meant for oral or
        written diffusion and propaganda in a bid to incite them to revolt
        against state authority, their Gabonese lawyer Ruphin Nkoulou said.

        http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article_eng&id_article=85210




        --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobutne" <bobutne@...> wrote:
        >
        > Five anti-corruption campaigners in Gabon were arrested just before
        > New Year and are being detained in harsh conditions on unknown
        > charges, non-governmental organisations in France said on Tuesday.
        > One of the five, Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, is a plaintiff in a suit
        filed
        > in a French court against Gabonese President Omar Bongo by anti-
        > corruption activists who accuse the veteran leader of buying French
        > properties with the proceeds of corruption.
        >
        > Nine French NGOs said the five Gabonese campaigners were arrested
        on
        > Dec. 30 and 31 and have been held since then without access to
        their
        > lawyers and without being told what are the charges against them.
        >
        > "The only 'wrong' these men have committed is to demand that Gabon
        > apply rules of good governance as required by its international
        > commitments, that is to say transparency and probity in the
        > management of public funds," the NGOs said.
        >
        > They include the French arm of anti-corruption watchdog
        Transparency
        > International and the campaign group Sherpa, which are also
        involved
        > in the lawsuit against Bongo.
        >
        > Gabon's Interior Minister Andre Obame declined to answer reporters'
        > questions on Monday about the reason for the arrests.
        >
        > Some weeks ago Obame appeared on state TV in Gabon and accused one
        of
        > the detainees, Marc Ona, head of the local branch of Publish What
        You
        > Pay and correspondent for U.S. state-backed radio Voice of America,
        > of being politically motivated. Obame said then that "politicised
        > NGOs are a threat to the country's internal security".
        >
        > The NGOs filed a suit on Dec. 2 accusing Bongo, Africa's longest-
        > serving leader, and two other African heads of state of
        accumulating
        > properties in France that could not be financed with their official
        > earnings.
        >
        > Bongo, who has ruled his oil-producing country since 1967 and
        placed
        > close relatives in key government positions, has denied the
        > allegations made against him and threatened to sue the activists
        for
        > defamation. A 2007 French police investigation revealed that he and
        > his relatives owned 39 properties in France, mostly in the rich
        16th
        > district of Paris, as well as 70 bank accounts and nine cars. The
        > properties also include luxury villas on the Riviera.
        >
        > The French NGOs said that relatives of Ngbwa Mintsa had told them
        he
        > had severe bruising on his legs. The men were being held with
        hardly
        > any clothing in a damp cellar, the groups said. They also said it
        was
        > not known if another of the detainees, Gaston Asseko, was being
        > provided with medication he needed after undergoing a recent
        > operation. Asseko works for a Catholic radio station, Radio Sainte
        > Marie.
        >
        > The French press has reported that Bongo, who has cultivated close
        > ties with successive French presidents since he came to power and
        > regards Paris as a second home, was infuriated by the lawsuit
        > concerning his French properties. (Additional reporting by Antoine
        > Lawson in Libreville; editing by Alistair Thomson)
        >
      • bobutne
        Reuters. Gabon charged five journalists and anti-graft campaigners on Friday with trying to incite rebellion over a published document heavily criticising
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 10, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Reuters.

          Gabon charged five journalists and anti-graft campaigners on Friday
          with trying to incite rebellion over a published document heavily
          criticising President Omar Bongo's 41-year rule. Those charged
          included Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, who is a plaintiff in a suit brought
          by anti-corruption activists in France accusing Africa's longest-
          serving leader of buying dozens of French properties with the
          proceeds of corruption.

          Bongo has ruled Gabon, one of Africa's richest countries on a per
          capita basis thanks to crude oil production, since 1967. He denies
          the graft charges and is counter-suing for defamation.

          Interior Minister Andre Obame said the five had been charged
          with "possessing a document for dissemination for propaganda
          purposes" and with "oral or written propaganda with a view to
          inciting rebellion against the state authorities".

          Legal officials said authorities were seeking sentences of up to five
          years imprisonment and fines against the group, who were arrested
          just before New Year. Four were remanded in custody while Dieudonne
          Koungou, a journalist at the bimonthly newspaper Tendance Gabon, was
          released on bail, the group's lawyer Ruphin Nkoulou Ondo told
          reporters in the capital Libreville.

          Publish What You Pay, Global Witness and the Revenue Watch Institute,
          organisations which campaign against corruption in industry, said in
          a statement the charges stemmed from an open letter criticising Bongo
          that was published on the Internet.

          "My clients are not the authors of this letter, which is in the
          possession of hundreds of people: are they all to be detained too?" a
          statement released by the three organisations quoted their laywer,
          Ondo, as saying. Ondo had said Mintsa and fellow detainees Gaston
          Asseko, who works for the Catholic radio station, Radio Sainte Marie,
          and Georges Mpaga, a member of the local branch of Publish What You
          Pay, all needed urgent medical care, the statement said.

          French lawyer Thierry Levy, who was on his way to Gabon to defend
          Mintsa, was turned back late on Thursday by airport police in Paris,
          who told him his visa to enter Gabon had been cancelled, Levy told
          reporters in Paris on Friday.

          Bongo has cultivated close ties with successive French presidents
          since he came to power and regards Paris as a second home. A 2007
          French police investigation revealed that he and his relatives owned
          39 properties in France, mostly in the rich 16th district of Paris,
          as well as 70 bank accounts and nine cars. The properties include
          luxury villas on the Riviera.

          A group of NGOs filed a suit on Dec. 2 accusing Bongo and two other
          African heads of state of accumulating properties in France that
          could not be financed with their official earnings.

          Some weeks ago Obame, the interior minister, appeared on state TV in
          Gabon and accused one of the detainees, Marc Ona, of being
          politically motivated. Ona is head of the local branch of Publish
          What You Pay and correspondent for U.S. state-backed radio Voice of
          America.

          Obame said then that "politicised NGOs are a threat to the country's
          internal security".








          --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobutne" <bobutne@...> wrote:
          >
          > NGOs protest cancellation of French lawyer's visa to Gabon
          >
          > APA-Libreville (Gabon) Two international NGOs, Sherpa and
          > Transparency International (France) protested against the Gabonese
          > authorities' last minute decision on Thursday to cancel the visa of
          > Lawyer Thierry Lévy to prevent him from taking a flight to
          Libreville
          > to represent the Gabonese activists imprisoned for "propaganda".
          >
          > The militants of these NGOs were on Wednesday imprisoned in
          > Libreville central prison about a case involving the assets of some
          > African heads of state including Gabonese President Omar Bongo.
          >
          > "It is an unprecedented step which violates the terms of the French-
          > Gabonese Convention on mutual legal assistance (1963), insofar as
          it
          > prevents a French lawyer from defending his clients," the two NGOs
          > deplored in a release copied to APA.
          >
          > "The decision of the Gabonese authorities, which prevents Lawyer
          Lévy
          > from practising, seriously violates the international obligations
          of
          > Gabon and the Gabonese law itself," the Paris-based organisations
          > said, adding that "the thus created situation is extremely
          alarming".
          >
          > On 30 and 31 December, intelligence service agents arrested six
          > Gabonese civil society members without a warrant and took them to
          the
          > Criminal Investigation Department.
          >
          > After more than 48 hours in police custody, Prosecutor Alaba Fall
          > Bosco required the opening of an inquiry against five of the
          > detainees.
          >
          > They are Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, Marc Ona Essangui, George Mpaga,
          > Dieudonné Koungou and Gaston Asseko. They were placed under
          committal
          > order, except for Dieudonné Koungou who was granted bail.
          >
          > Koungo was placed under committal order and sent to the Libreville
          > prison on Wednesday evening.
          >
          > They are being prosecuted for possessing a document meant for oral
          or
          > written diffusion and propaganda in a bid to incite them to revolt
          > against state authority, their Gabonese lawyer Ruphin Nkoulou said.
          >
          > http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?
          page=show_article_eng&id_article=85210
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobutne" <bobutne@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Five anti-corruption campaigners in Gabon were arrested just
          before
          > > New Year and are being detained in harsh conditions on unknown
          > > charges, non-governmental organisations in France said on
          Tuesday.
          > > One of the five, Gregory Ngbwa Mintsa, is a plaintiff in a suit
          > filed
          > > in a French court against Gabonese President Omar Bongo by anti-
          > > corruption activists who accuse the veteran leader of buying
          French
          > > properties with the proceeds of corruption.
          > >
          > > Nine French NGOs said the five Gabonese campaigners were arrested
          > on
          > > Dec. 30 and 31 and have been held since then without access to
          > their
          > > lawyers and without being told what are the charges against them.
          > >
          > > "The only 'wrong' these men have committed is to demand that
          Gabon
          > > apply rules of good governance as required by its international
          > > commitments, that is to say transparency and probity in the
          > > management of public funds," the NGOs said.
          > >
          > > They include the French arm of anti-corruption watchdog
          > Transparency
          > > International and the campaign group Sherpa, which are also
          > involved
          > > in the lawsuit against Bongo.
          > >
          > > Gabon's Interior Minister Andre Obame declined to answer
          reporters'
          > > questions on Monday about the reason for the arrests.
          > >
          > > Some weeks ago Obame appeared on state TV in Gabon and accused
          one
          > of
          > > the detainees, Marc Ona, head of the local branch of Publish What
          > You
          > > Pay and correspondent for U.S. state-backed radio Voice of
          America,
          > > of being politically motivated. Obame said then that "politicised
          > > NGOs are a threat to the country's internal security".
          > >
          > > The NGOs filed a suit on Dec. 2 accusing Bongo, Africa's longest-
          > > serving leader, and two other African heads of state of
          > accumulating
          > > properties in France that could not be financed with their
          official
          > > earnings.
          > >
          > > Bongo, who has ruled his oil-producing country since 1967 and
          > placed
          > > close relatives in key government positions, has denied the
          > > allegations made against him and threatened to sue the activists
          > for
          > > defamation. A 2007 French police investigation revealed that he
          and
          > > his relatives owned 39 properties in France, mostly in the rich
          > 16th
          > > district of Paris, as well as 70 bank accounts and nine cars. The
          > > properties also include luxury villas on the Riviera.
          > >
          > > The French NGOs said that relatives of Ngbwa Mintsa had told them
          > he
          > > had severe bruising on his legs. The men were being held with
          > hardly
          > > any clothing in a damp cellar, the groups said. They also said it
          > was
          > > not known if another of the detainees, Gaston Asseko, was being
          > > provided with medication he needed after undergoing a recent
          > > operation. Asseko works for a Catholic radio station, Radio
          Sainte
          > > Marie.
          > >
          > > The French press has reported that Bongo, who has cultivated
          close
          > > ties with successive French presidents since he came to power and
          > > regards Paris as a second home, was infuriated by the lawsuit
          > > concerning his French properties. (Additional reporting by
          Antoine
          > > Lawson in Libreville; editing by Alistair Thomson)
          > >
          >
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.