Togo student protest leader gets 1-year suspended sentence

Folly Satchivi in Court

Lome, (Globe Afrique) – A Togolese court has handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence to a university student who led a protest against teaching conditions that turned violent.

Monday’s hearing saw sentence handed down to Folly Satchivi as well as to another student involved in this month’s demonstrations, Marius Amagbegnon.

Both were convicted of “disturbing the public order, aggravated by the destruction of public property” and are planning to appeal.

They have been held in prison since their arrest on June 14, the first of two days of protests by students at the University of Lome, which saw demonstrators clashing with police who fired tear gas to disperse them.

Students demonstrate in Togo

“I am disappointed because this is based on the same events as for other students who were released last week. It’s justice with double standards,” Raphael Kpande-Adzare, one of students’ lawyers told media institutions.

“The law has left the courtroom today. We are going to lodge an appeal against this decision which is not right,” he added.

On June 19, seven other students were released without charge due to lack of evidence at a hearing in Lome, capital of this small west African county.

The demonstrations were organised by the Togolese students rights league (LTDE).

University officials said the LTDE was not authorised to hold activities on the university grounds.

The university’s president, Dodzi Komla Kokoroko, has said he would be happy to talk with the disgruntled students “to find an appropriate solution” to their complaints.

The students want new classrooms be built as well as an increase in their monthly allowances, from 12,000 CFA francs to 20,000 CFA francs ($21-$34, 18-30 euros).

Lome University is the biggest such institution in the country and counts over 51,000 students.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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