Togo leader's brother still behind bars

2011-04-15 17:55
Lome - Togolese authorities were on Friday still holding a brother of President Faure Gnassingbe over a coup plot in 2009, after freeing 10 other suspects a day earlier, his relatives said.

The state prosecutor at the Lome Appeal Court, Atara N’Dakena, on Thursday said that 10 people had been "conditionally freed under legal observation", but did not identify them.

Relatives of Kpatcha Gnassingbe, the brother of the head of state, told AFP that he was not among the beneficiaries.

A former defence minister, parliamentary deputy and member of the political bureau of the ruling Togolese People's Rally, Gnassingbe was arrested in April 2009 outside the US Embassy in Lome, where he planned to seek refuge.

He is accused by Togo's rulers of being the brains behind the planned coup, which was foiled a year before Faure Gnassingbe was re-elected.

Another of the president's brothers, Essolizam Gnassingbe, who was also arrested over the coup plot, was conditionally set free on Thursday, a source close to the family told AFP.

Papers published in Lome on Friday also reported the release of Essolizam Gnassingbe, who had been picked up a few days after Kpatcha Gnassingbe.

In all, 31 civilians and soldiers were locked up in connection with th e coup plot and charged with "attempting to undermine state security, criminal association, rebellion, violence and complicity".

Prosecutor N’Dakena on Thursday told a press conference: "It appears that keeping some of those charged in detention is no longer necessary, in view of the progress made."

"For cases that need different measures, the procedure will follow its normal course," he stressed.

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