A half-brother of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, accused of trying to overthrow power in 2009 and detained since then, has been evacuated to Gabon for ” sanitary reasons” , one of his aides told AFP on Wednesday.
Considered the mastermind of a failed putsch, Kpatcha Gnassingbé, former Minister of Defense (2005-2007) aged 52, was sentenced in September 2011 to 20 years in prison for “conspiring against state security”. He had been arrested on April 15, 2009 in front of the American embassy where he was trying to find refuge.
“I can confirm that Kpatcha Gnassingbé has been evacuated to Gabon for health reasons since March 23. I am in contact with his relatives. He is currently in a hospital where he is being treated,” said Me Zeus Ajavon .
“We have asked for his evacuation several times, because of his state of health which has deteriorated. In any case, we appreciate this gesture, which can be a sign of relaxation within the Gnassingbé family”, he said . he adds.
No official Togolese or Gabonese source has yet confirmed the information.
Kpatcha Gnassingbé had been hospitalized in the military pavilion of the Sylvanus-Olympio University Hospital Center (CHU) in Lomé since June 17, 2021.
According to Me Ajavon, his client, who suffers in particular from diabetes , “is still considered a prisoner, because he has not benefited from parole or a presidential pardon” .
A total of 33 soldiers and civilians involved in this foiled putsch of 2009 were tried by the judicial chamber of the Supreme Court and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 months to 20 years. All had pleaded their innocence.
Kpatcha Gnassingbé and two officers are still being held in this case, the others having been released.
“We would like the two officers who are still in detention in this case to also benefit from a medical evacuation, because they are also sick” , pleaded Me Ajavon.
Togo has been ruled since 2005 by Faure Gnassingbé , who came to power after the death of his father, General Gnassingbé Eyadéma , who himself had ruled Togo for 38 years. He was re-elected in polls that were all contested by the opposition.
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