The Chief editor of the newspaper “L’Alternative” Ferdinand Ayité remained in police custody at the Brigade de Recherches et d’Investigations (BRI) of the Togolese National Police, the newspaper announced on Thursday evening.
The journalist is being prosecuted for statements made about two pastors who are also members of the government, in a program produced by his organ.
Ferdinand Ayité responded to his summons on Thursday morning and was questioned by the national police.
According to the information disclosed by “L’Alternative” and the journalist’s lawyer, Ferdinand Ayité is accused of defaming the two Togolese government ministers, who are also pastors.
In fact, in a program broadcast online by L’Alternative, Ferdinand Ayité criticized certain pastoral ministers in a topic related to the new measures in churches due to Covid-19.
The colleague believed that pastors who are also ministers should not accept that there are political prisoners in the country and that injustices are committed.
These comments among others were deemed defamatory by members of the government who allegedly lodged a complaint against the journalist.
At the end of the day, we learn that Police have decided to detain Ferdinand Ayité on the basis of article 490 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
At the same time, we learn that another guest on the show is also summoned for this Friday. This is the journalist Joël Egah, Director of the newspaper Fraternité.
As a reminder, Ferdinand Ayité, who continues to denounce corruption in several sectors in Togo, has seen his newspaper suspended several times.
This has prompted reactions from international organizations fighting for press freedom, including the CPJ, Amnesty International, and many others.