Lome – Two Togolese journalists charged with “contempt of authority” were released provisionally on Friday, their lawyer told AFP.
Ferdinand Ayite and Joel Egah, editors of the bi-weekly L’Alternative and the weekly Fraternite respectively, had been arrested and detained on December 10 over comments made during an online broadcast.
They were also charged with “spreading false information on social networks”.
“The two journalists were released on bail of Friday, after we lodged a third request,” lawyer Elom Kpade said.
But the pair were placed under judicial supervision, he added.
A third journalist, Isidore Kouwonou who also took part in the online broadcast, had already been placed under judicial supervision.
Amnesty International had called for Ayite and Egah’s release, denouncing what the “arbitrary detention” and accusing the authorities of wanting to “silence critics”.
Local rights groups and opposition parties had also called for the pair to be freed.
The small West African state, which has been ruled since 2005 by President Faure Gnassingbe, is often accused by rights groups of cracking down on opposition figures and the media.
L’Alternative was suspended in February for four months in a case involving Housing Minister Koffi Tsolenyanu.
Before that, it had already been suspended in March 2020, after a complaint from the former French ambassador to Togo.
The newspaper Fraternite was also suspended in March 2020 for two months, following an article denouncing the suspension of two other newspapers.
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