Arrest and detention of human rights defender in Chad

The organisation Front Line Defenders reported on 8 May 2012 that radio journalist and human rights defender Eric Topona was arrested and taken to prison after appearing before an investigating magistrate in N'Djamena and charged with “threatening the constitutional order”.

Front Line Defenders said that Topona is a prominent radio journalist and currently serves as the secretary general of Union des Journalistes Tchadiens - Union of Chadian Journalists (UJT), and that Topona was notified on 3 May 2013 that he should appear before a magistrate at the N'Djamena Palais de Justice, reportedly for the purpose of testifying in the case of Jean Laokolé, a young blogger detained since 22 March 2013 on defamation charges. Laokolé was arrested by a group of men in civilian clothes in the Chadian capital N'Djamena on March 22, 2013.

On the morning of 6 May 2013, Tapona was accompanied by his lawyer, family members and some of his colleagues before leaving for the Palais de Justice. According to his lawyer, the questioning focused mainly on blog articles posted on the internet allegedly authored by Topona. Topona was charged with threatening the constitutional order and escorted by members of the police to a detention centre in Amsinene, a suburb of N'Djamena.

In 2012, Eric Topona reported facing a number of threats such as being followed by unidentified motorists, receiving anonymous calls, and being knocked down by a motorcycle. Tapona believes that these incidents were directly connected to his journalistic activities.

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