17 May 2019

Africa: Togo Authorities Urged to Investigate Attack On Journalist's Car

press release

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Togolese authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into a clearly targeted attack on investigative reporter Loïc Lawson's car after he published a story about a questionable real estate acquisition involving a minister.

Persons in a car with no licence plates attacked Lawson's car while it was parked outside the Lomé-based newspaper that he edits, Le Flambeau des Démocrates, on 28 April.

Loïc Lawson told RSF that, before the incident, he had received threats in connection with an article alleging that a member of the government of Togo was involved in a questionable real estate acquisition.

"In view of the repeated threats against Loïc Lawson, we call on the Togolese authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into this attack in order to identify those responsible and bring them to trial," said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF's West Africa office. "The safety of investigative journalists must be a priority for Togo's authorities."

Lawson said he has filed a complaint with the judicial authorities alleging "wilful damage" of what is one of his work tools. "The CCTV video clearly shows a deliberate attack by means of a car with no licence plates, suggesting that this was a punitive and intimidatory mission carried out on someone's orders."

Togo is ranked 76th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

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