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Burkina: release of a whistleblower after 4 days in police custody

Burkina: release of a whistleblower after 4 days in police custody
People walk past the entrance to the central prison (MACO) ...   -  
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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors

Burkina Faso

A famous whistleblower in Burkina Faso, Wendpouire Charles Sawadogo, arrested and suspected of "foreign intelligence", was released on Monday after four days in police custody, AFP learned from his relatives.

Wendpouire Charles Sawadogo "was released around 9:30 a.m. (local and GMT). For us it is a great joy," the spokesman for a group of journalists, activists, and influential people in the region told AFP. civil society in Burkina Faso, Arouna Louré, of which Mr. Sawadogo is a member. "The charges ' against him ' have been dropped," he added.

"He was suspected of having received money from abroad to destabilize the transition" (military regime in place in Burkina before potential elections in 2024), explained one of his relatives, specifying that "his home was searched and his phones seized".

"All the searches that have been carried out have proved fruitless," said Mr. Louré, who sees in this release "the absence of material evidence" that "could incriminate Mr. Sawadogo".

Wendpouire Charles Sawadogo was summoned on Thursday by the Central Brigade for the Fight against Cybercrime (BCLCC) before being placed in detention, suspected of _"intelligence with foreign countries with a view to deposing the regime in place", according to the collective.

Famous whistleblower very followed on social networks, he is a member of the collective of "victims having been the direct and individual target of numerous death threats and violence for the simple fact of having an opinion contrary" to power.

Arouna Louré sees in the arrest of Mr. Sawadogo "a cabal vis-à-vis all the voices which try to oppose", to "denounce bad governance". On Saturday, the collective had asked the government "to stop this hunt for journalists, activists, and opinion leaders".

Their members "live in daily anguish and suffer relentlessness, repression and harassment ", particularly through regular tracking and "the tapping of telephones, insults, defamation, slander", lamented their spokesperson Arouna Louré.

The organization also indicated that it had "learned" of a "blacklist" of members of civil society, a document which, according to it, will be used by the authorities to make new arrests.

Burkina Faso, the scene of two military coups in 2022, has been caught since 2015 in a spiral of jihadist violence that appeared in Mali and Niger a few years earlier and which has spread beyond their borders.

In seven years, the violence has left more than 10,000 dead - civilians and soldiers - according to NGOs, and some two million internally displaced persons.

The transition president, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power in a putsch in September, said he wanted to "refocus the transition on security emergencies" .

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