CHAD: Blogger detained incommunicado


RAN 17/13 11 April 2013

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the incommunicado detention of blogger and writer Jean Laokolé, who was arrested by a group of men in civilian clothes in the Chadian capital N’Djamena on 22 March 2013. While Laokolé’s whereabouts remain officially unknown, he was reportedly seen on 25 March in a former military camp in N’Djamena. His detention is apparently connected to a series of articles he wrote and posted on a blog in 2012 denouncing corruption, poor governance and nepotism in Chad. He is thought to be at risk of torture and ill treatment. PEN International calls on the Chadian authorities to disclose Laokolé’s whereabouts and either to charge him with a recognizable criminal offence or to release him immediately and unconditionally.

The following is the text of a petition issued by Internet Sans Frontières on 9 April 2013:

Jean Laokolé, Chadian blogger and writer, was arrested Friday, March 22 by members of the security forces in N’Djamena, the Chadian capital. He was arrested by a group of men in civilian clothes while he was driving with his family in the district Atrone in N’Djamena.

Jean Laokolé contributed last year under an assumed name on the Chadian famous blog http://makaila.over-blog.com/. In his articles, he denounced corruption, poor governance and nepotism that prevail in this country located in the Central part of Africa. He was identified by the intelligence services.

The day of his arrest, men in plainclothes forced him into their vehicle and took him to an unknown destination. Although authorities have not revealed what happened to him, he was seen on Monday, March 25 in a former military camp in N’Djamena, the OCAM camp, located behind the High School of the Sacré Coeur. He was then transferred to the military camp of the EUFOR force, now called “Amsinene camp.” According to activists for human rights in Chad, this place is used to torture political activists.

According to various sources, including family members, police summoned Jean Laokolé March 22 allegedly about an article published on a blog. He was suspected of bringing “false accusations” against a group of people who may filled a complaint against him. Negotiationsfor a compromise were underway between all the parties: They finally agreed that Jean Laokolé would write an apology on this blog and would also send a letter of apology to those likely to have been injured by the blog post. He planned to do so on Saturday, March 23.

Since his arrest, his supporters are on wiretapping: on March 25, 2013, a blog close to power, visiondutchad.net published an article in which a telephone conversation between Makaila Nguebla, blogger and editor of the blog on which John Laokolé wrote under a pseudonym, and Eric Tapona, president of the Chadian Association of Journalists is transcribed.

Find all articles by Jean Laokolé published on the blog http://makaila.over-blog.com/ by clicking here

Find the statement issued by Amnesty International on March 25, 2013:
http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/info/AFR20/001/2013/fr

You can read and sign ISF’s petition here: http://liberezlaokole.wesign.it/en/signer/sign

Please send appeals:

• Urging the Chadian authorities to disclose the whereabouts of blogger Jean Laokolé, who has been detained incommunicado since 22 March 2013;
• Calling on them to release Laokolé immediately and unconditionally unless he is to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence;
• Calling on them to protect Laokolé from torture and other ill-treatment.
• Urging them to respect and uphold the right to freedom expression in Chad and protect people against any threats and intimidation based on the peaceful exercise of their human rights.

Send your appeals to:

President of the Republic
Monsieur Idriss Deby
Président de la République
Présidence de la République
BP 74, N’Djamena
Email: http://www.presidencetchad.org/nous_ecrire.php
Salutation: Dear President Deby

Minister of Human Rights
Amina Kodjiyana
Ministre des Droits de l’Homme
Ministère des Droits de l’Homme
BP 169, N’Djamena
Email: droittchad@yahoo.fr
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Justice
Monsieur Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul
Ministre de la Justice,
Ministère de la Justice
BP 426, N’Djamena
Salutation: Dear Minister

Or via your nearest Chadian embassy – see http://www.embassypages.com/chad

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 11 June 2013***

For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: tamsin.mitchell@pen-international.org