10 February 2016

Cote d'Ivoire: RSF Asks Côte d'Ivoire to Comply With Kieffer Case Request From French Judges

press release

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the family of Guy-André Kieffer, a Franco-Canadian journalist who disappeared in Côte d'Ivoire in 2004, urge the Ivorian authorities to comply without further delay with the formal request they received a year ago from two French judges in charge of France's investigation into his disappearance.

The Ivorian authorities have still not responded to the request sent on 23 February 2015 by the two French investigating judges, Cyril Paquaux and Gaëlle Beuf, who asked them to question several people including the former first lady and other former officials who could shed light on Kieffer's fate.

A French and Canadian dual national based in Abidjan, Kieffer was investigating shady practices in the production and export of cocoa when he was kidnapped on 16 April 2004. He has been missing ever since.

The civil parties who are registered in the case, were briefed by Paquaux and Beuf on 3 February about the current state of the investigation. It was their first meeting with the judges since Paquaux was assigned to the case in 2014.

The association Vérité pour Guy-André Kieffer joins RSF and the Kieffer family in urging the Ivorian authorities to act at once on the year-old request from the French judges.

"President Alassane Ouattara has personally undertaken on several occasions to both Osange Silou-Kieffer and RSF to shed all possible light on Guy-André Kieffer's disappearance," said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF's Africa desk. "One of these occasions was during a meeting with RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire in Abidjan in 2014.

"Now that the Ivorian government is well established and stable, it is important to act on these promises and question the witnesses again. The Kieffer family, RSF and the association Vérité pour Guy-André Kieffer call on the authorities to comply as quickly as possible with the formal request from the French judges, so that they can advance the investigation, which has been stalled for several years."

Inter alia, the French judges have asked the Ivorian authorities to question former First Lady Simone Gbagbo, currently detained in Côte d'Ivoire, her former security chief, Anselme Yap Seka, also under judicial control, her brother-in-law, Michel Legré, and former Ivorian intelligence officer Jean Tony Oulaï.

Côte d'Ivoire is ranked 86th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

For more information on the Kieffer case, click here.

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