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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                          

Togolese Republic (Togo)

reports of torture by security forces continue, including in 2017 against participants in antigovernment demonstrations.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]


Description: Description: Togo

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Togo.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Togo

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 10 August 2021]


There were several abuses reported similar to the examples noted below.

On April 11, security personnel enforcing the COVID-19 state of emergency reportedly assaulted an elderly woman, Nyanuwoede Drafoe, living in Agbodrafo, an area approximately 20 miles from Lome. Her family members reported she was beaten for not respecting the curfew. Human rights organizations noted, however, the curfew was not in force in the area at that time and that the use of force was excessive and amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. The human rights organizations referred the case to the CNDH, which began an investigation.

On April 23, in Lome security forces detained without charge businessman Koko Langueh, who provided digital communication services to opposition presidential candidate Agbeyome Kodjo. Human rights organizations reported that security forces at the CDJP facility handcuffed him to a bench; took his money, bankcards, and two cell phones; did not allow him to communicate with his lawyer for five days; and beat him so severely that he lost consciousness. At one point an officer put his foot on the victim’s neck and another held his feet so that he could not move. Human rights organizations reported that the victim provided photographic evidence of his injuries. On April 30, authorities released the businessman when his lawyer arrived at the CDJP.


Prison conditions and detention center conditions remained harsh and potentially life threatening due to serious overcrowding, poor sanitation, disease, and insufficient and unhealthy food.

Physical Conditions: Overcrowding was a serious problem. As of August 13, there were 4,117 convicted prisoners and pretrial detainees (including 96 women) in 13 prisons and jails designed to hold 2,720 inmates. For example, Tsevie Prison was at least 360 percent above capacity with more than 200 inmates held in a prison designed to hold 56.


Pretrial Detention: Pretrial detainees and persons in preventive detention constituted 62 percent of the total prison population. A shortage of judges and other qualified personnel, as well as official inaction, often resulted in pretrial detention for periods exceeding the time detainees would have served if tried and convicted, in many cases by more than six months.

 ‘It’s just barbarity’: Togo’s political prisoners describe torture in police custody

Siobhan O'Grady, Los Angeles Times, Lome, 4 June 2018

[accessed 4 June 2018]

Imourane Issa braced himself for the next crack of a whip across his back. His head felt heavy on the concrete floor. He estimated that he was one of about two dozen men being tortured in the garage. The lone woman lay shaking in a puddle of her own urine.

There in the headquarters of Togo’s secret police — the notorious Research and Intelligence Service — the captives were beaten, waterboarded and forced to kneel and neigh like horses.

"Some were hit with electrical cords, some of them had their heads cracked open," Issa said. "They were forced to take their clothes off to wipe off their own blood."

Finally, they were all herded into the backs of pickup trucks and driven away.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


Prisons suffer from overcrowding and inadequate food and medical care, sometimes resulting in deaths among inmates from preventable or curable diseases. The government periodically releases prisoners to address overcrowding, but the process by which individuals are chosen for release is not transparent.

The 2015 penal code criminalizes torture. However, its definition of torture does not conform to the definition in the UN Convention against Torture, and reports of torture by security forces continue, including in 2017 against participants in antigovernment demonstrations.

Torture victims seeking asylum in Hong Kong for nine years to settle in Canada

[article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Stymied torture pair head to Canada]

Christy Choi, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, 6 July 2014

[accessed 6 July 2014]

The two men, former election monitors, were fleeing torture and persecution by the military dictatorship that has ruled Togo since 1967.

During the 2005 elections, they and four other monitors fled the country after being beaten, electrocuted and threatened with death for refusing to sign false documents saying President Faure Gnassingbe had garnered the most votes.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/TGO/CO/1 (2006)

[accessed 10 March 2013]

C.  Subjects of concern and recommendations

10. While noting that article 21 of the Togolese Constitution of 14 October 1992 prohibits torture, and welcoming the draft revised criminal code, the Committee is nonetheless concerned by the absence of provisions in the criminal code that explicitly define and criminalize torture, in accordance with articles 1 and 4 of the Convention.  The Committee is also concerned by the fact that no sentences have been handed down relating to acts of torture, owing to the lack of a suitable definition of torture in Togolese legislation (arts. 1 and 4).

11. While welcoming the extensive project to overhaul the justice system mentioned by the State party’s delegation, the Committee notes with concern that the existing provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to police custody do not provide for the notification of rights or the presence of a lawyer, and that the medical examination of persons held is merely an option available only at their own request or that of a member of their family, subject to the agreement of the prosecution authorities.  Moreover, the 48-hour time limit for police custody is allegedly rarely observed in practice, and some people, including children, are held without charge or awaiting trial for several years (arts. 2 and 11).

12. The Committee is concerned by allegations received, in particular following the April 2005 elections, of the widespread practice of torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and secret detentions, as well as of the frequent rape of women by military personnel, often in the presence of members of their families, and the apparent impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of such acts (arts. 2, 12 and 14).

22. While it takes note of the report of the national independent commission of inquiry, the Committee is concerned by the lack of impartial inquiries to establish the individual responsibility of the perpetrators of acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in particular following the April 2005 elections, which contributes to the climate of impunity prevailing in Togo (art. 12).

25. The Committee has taken note with concern of the reprisals, serious acts of intimidation and threats to which human rights defenders are subjected, especially those who report acts of torture and ill-treatment (art. 16).


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Torture in pre-trial detention was used to extract confessions or implicate defendants.

In April, four students, including three members of the National Union of Togolese Pupils and Students, were ill-treated during their arrest and detention in the civil prison of Kara, approximately 430km north of Lomé. They had been charged with “incitement to rebellion” for organizing a meeting to discuss the government’s promises to allocate scholarships. They were released without trial one month later.

In August, Kossi Amétépé was arrested during an anti-government demonstration. He was beaten by members of the Rapid Intervention Force and detained in their camp in Lomé, where he was whipped with ropes and trampled upon.


The security forces regularly used excessive force to repress demonstrations organized by political parties.

In June, the security forces hunted down protesters in private homes as well as in a place of worship. They also threw tear gas into a classroom at a school in the Catholic mission of Amoutiévé in Lomé, the capital.

In July, police forces attacked the home of Jean-Pierre Fabre, Chairman of the National Alliance for Change (Alliance nationale pour le changement, ANC). They threw tear gas for several hours before entering by force to beat up those present and arrest some of them.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 15 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 14 February 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits torture and physical abuse of prisoners and detainees, there were reports such practices occurred. The intense circumstances of the election period resulted in an increased incidence of arrest, which in turn produced many more reports of torture than in the previous year. Some former prisoners credibly claimed that security forces beat them during detention. There were reports that soldiers flogged the genitals of male prisoners. Impunity remained a problem, and the government did not publicly prosecute any officials for these abuses.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Togo",, [accessed <date>]