Ousted African leader goes on hunger strikeLawyers for the former Gabonese president, Ali Bongo, claim that his wife and children were physically assaulted while in detention Read Full Article at RT.com

Lawyers for the former president of Gabon claim that his detained family have been subjected to physical assault

Gabon’s deposed president, Ali Bongo, has begun a hunger strike in protest at the alleged torture of him and his family, who have been detained since August, his lawyers reportedly announced on Tuesday.

The family’s attorney, Francois Zimeray, told Radio France Internationale (RFI) that two of Bongo’s youngest sons, Jalil and Bilal, have decided to join their father on the campaign because they have been deprived of their freedom for nine months.

“Their mother and brothers have been arrested and tortured, and they themselves do not enjoy any of the fundamental rights that are recognized by everyone,” RFI quoted Zimeray as saying.

Ali Bongo, who had been in power for 14 years, was placed under house arrest in the capital, Libreville, along with Jalil and Bilal, after a group of Gabonese soldiers staged a coup and annulled the results of the country’s disputed presidential election in August.

The leader had been declared the winner with 64.27% of the vote, giving him a third term to rule the Central African nation after succeeding his father, Omar Bongo, who had been in power since 1967.

In October, the new leadership also imprisoned the deposed first lady, Sylvia Bongo, and her eldest son, Noureddin Bongo, on charges of corruption and embezzlement.

On Tuesday, the Bongo family’s legal counsel claimed in a statement cited by AFP that Noureddin and Sylvia had been subjected to physical assault while in custody.

They said Noureddin had been “tortured several times, beaten with a hammer and a crowbar, strangled, whipped and even electrocuted with a Taser.”

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“Sylvia Bongo, forced to witness the torture… was also beaten and strangled, as part of an unlimited dispossession of the family’s property,” they stated.

The defense team said they had filed a complaint with the Paris Judicial Court ahead of a visit to France in the coming week by Gabon’s new ruler, General Brice Oligui Nguema.

“These are serious crimes, and the perpetrators must bring justice. So there will be an investigation, there will be a summons, and if they do not appear, international arrest warrants,” lawyer Zimeray told RFI, claiming they “have the names of those who participated in or sponsored these acts of sequestration, torture, and barbarity.”


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