2 Ivorian journalists detained

2011-02-08 12:50

New York - Two Ivorian journalists, Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbe, have been detained without charge for 10 days amid reports they have been tortured in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.

The New York-based rights watchdog said the pair have been called "rebels" by media backing Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president who has contested November election results that showed him losing.

The two men have not been charged, no court proceedings have been scheduled and the Ivorian constitution bars detention without charge beyond 48 hours, CPJ cited Ivorian legal experts as saying.

The journalists had been headed to the Golf hotel in Abidjan, the besieged headquarters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, for interviews when they were picked up by Gbagbo security forces, CPJ cited news reports as saying.

"By detaining journalists Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbe without due process, the Gbagbo government is violating the Ivorian constitution it is swearing to uphold in public," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita.

"We call on the administration of President Laurent Gbagbo to release these journalists, to halt mistreatment of them, and to investigate and bring to justice all those responsible for the reported abuse," he added.

Tensions have mounted in the West African nation since Gbagbo refused to stand down as president and hand over power to Ouattara after the November elections, which were intended to re-establish normality after a 2002 civil war that split the country for many years.