Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must uphold the right to fair trial of opposition members and their relatives arrested over the last two weeks and ensure they have access to their lawyers and medical assistance, Amnesty International said on Friday.
Rigobert Soro, a police officer and brother of the presidential candidate Guillaume Soro has been subjected to enforced disappearance since 30 December 2019. Dahafolo Koné, an aide to Soro’s lawyer, have been held without charge and access to a lawyer since 27 December. He was receiving treatment for a life-threatening condition and requires medical attention.
They are among 17 people related to the opposition in detention following a wave of arrests which took place between 23 and 31 December 2019 in Abidjan. Thirteen have been charged with ‘publishing false news, undermining public order and the authority of the state’. While they are in detention, security forces have searched several of their houses without warrants.
“The authorities must immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of Rigobert Soro. They should ensure all detainees have access to a lawyer, medical assistance and allow their families to visit them. Subjecting people to enforced disappearance and preventing detainees to access their lawyers are gross human rights violations and a brazen attempt to intimidate opposition voices,” said Francois Patuel, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.