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Newspaper editor Lucien Djossou Messan arrested on orders of ministry official

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 23 March 2009, Lucien Djossou Messan, managing editor of the privately owned newspaper "Le Combact du Peuple", was arrested and detained at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Lome, the capital of Togo.

A Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that the arrest and subsequent detention of the veteran journalist was on the orders of Colonel Atcha Mohammed Tikikpina, Minister of Security and Civil Protection.

The correspondent said "Le Combact du Peuple", which has consistently exposed the excesses of the minister, on 23 March published an article written by Messan that accused the minister of "blatantly violating the rights of Togolese citizens and foreigners living on Togolese soil".

Messan, who was arrested in the afternoon, was released in the evening without charge.

Meanwhile, the Independent Journalists Union of Togo (UJIT) issued a communiqué condemning the arrest of the journalist, saying it was "a serious attack on the practice of the profession and a blatant violation of the law, reminiscent of the methods used by the old order".

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