Gabon: Ali Bongo’s family files a complaint in France to denounce his arbitrary “sequestration”

Lawyers for the Bongo family announced to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday, May 14, that they had filed a new complaint in Paris to denounce the arbitrary “arrest” and “sequestration” in Gabon of several of its members

Gabon: Ali Bongo’s family files a complaint in France to denounce his arbitrary “sequestration”

Lawyers for the Bongo family announced to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday, May 14, that they had filed a new complaint in Paris to denounce the arbitrary “arrest” and “sequestration” in Gabon of several of its members. They also assured that former president Ali Bongo Ondimba had started a hunger strike to protest.

While General Brice Oligui Nguema, at the head of Gabon since the putsch of August 30, 2023, is due to go to France in the coming days, Messrs. François Zimeray and Catalina de la Sota sent AFP a press release announcing their filing of a complaint with constitution of civil party in Paris. This procedure aims to obtain the appointment of an investigating judge in France to investigate these accusations.

A first simple complaint filed on September 1 by Ali Bongo's wife, Sylvia Bongo, to denounce this arbitrary detention, was already filed in October, according to the lawyers. The new complaint denounces an “illegal arrest, kidnapping aggravated by acts of torture and barbaric acts committed against Ali Bongo Ondimba, Sylvia Bongo and their sons Noureddin, Jalil and Bilal”, the first four being presented as French nationals.

According to the lawyers, Noureddin Bongo was “tortured several times, beaten with a hammer and a crowbar, strangled, whipped, or even electrocuted with a Taser. Sylvia Bongo, forced to witness the torture (…), was also beaten and strangled, as part of an unlimited dispossession of family property. Ali Bongo and his sons Jalil and Bilal, for their part, “were placed under house arrest, deprived of means of communication with the outside world and also subjected to acts of torture”. “Faced with these treatments (…) former president Ali Bongo Ondimba and his sons Jalil and Bilal are going on hunger strike,” say the lawyers.

For François Zimeray, “those responsible for these actions will be held accountable before French justice. These are among the most serious offenses against the human person in our penal code, the perpetrators of which incur a sentence of criminal imprisonment which can be extended to life.” In mid-March, lawyers had already asked a UN working group to recognize the “arbitrary detention” of the Bongo family after the army coup.

Popular among the vast majority of Gabonese people for having put an end to fifty-five years of the “Bongo dynasty”, General Brice Oligui Nguema, leader of the putsch, was proclaimed transitional president by the army two days after the coup. State.