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Gabon: Former president Ali Bongo on hunger strike against alleged torture

Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba, looks on as he leaves French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace after a meeting as part of preparation of the upcoming COP21   -  
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Francois Mori/AP


Former President Ali Bongo of Gabon and his two youngest sons, Jalil and Bilal, have started a hunger strike to protest their "sequestration" and alleged "acts of torture" against family members. Their lawyers announced this on May 14, stating a lawsuit has been filed in the Paris Judicial Court.

Lawyers François Zimeray and Catalina de la Sota aim to have a French judge investigate these allegations, especially as Gabon's leader since the August 2023 coup, General Brice Oligui Nguema, plans to visit Paris soon.

An earlier complaint by Ali Bongo’s wife, Sylvia Bongo, filed on September 1, two days after the coup, was dismissed in October. The new complaint alleges "illegal arrest, aggravated sequestration with torture, and barbaric acts" against Ali, Sylvia, and their sons Noureddin, Jalil, and Bilal, noting that the first four are French nationals.

The lawyers claim Noureddin has been tortured multiple times, and Sylvia was beaten and forced to witness these acts. Ali, Jalil, and Bilal are under house arrest, deprived of communication, and also tortured.

In March, the lawyers requested a UN working group to recognize the Bongos' "arbitrary detention" post-coup. General Nguema, who ended 55 years of the Bongo dynasty, was declared transitional president by the military shortly after the August 30 coup.

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