Côte d'Ivoire - Five years of unanswered questions since journalist's abduction in Abidjan



    MONTREAL, April 16 /CNW Telbec/ - A demonstration marking the fifth
anniversary of Canadian-French journalist Guy-André Kieffer's abduction and
disappearance in Abidjan was held at 1 p.m. today in Bastille Square in Paris
by his family, Kieffer support committees and Reporters Without Borders.
    Dozens of people gathered on the Bastille Square facing a man
representing a reporter who has been prevented from doing his job. The
demonstrators placed their hands over their eyes, ears or mouth to represent
the lack of transparency since Kieffer went missing.
    "Five long years have passed without the truth being established about
Guy-André's fate," Reporters Without Borders said. "The silence and impunity
are unbearable for his family and have gone on too long. We reiterate our hope
that the French judicial authorities will be able to do their job with
complete independence in cooperation with the Ivorian authorities, that all
those who have been subpoenaed are finally questioned, and that witnesses with
key information are protected from any pressure."
    Aged 54 at the time of his abduction, Kieffer was an agronomy graduate
who had worked for the French business daily La Tribune before going to live
in Côte d'Ivoire in 2002. In Abidjan, he freelanced for La Lettre du
Continent, a France-based publication about Africa, and other specialist
magazines. He also wrote under a pseudonym for the Ivorian press.
    As a specialist in commodities, business and finance, he also worked for
a commodities consulting company offering advice on cacao, of which Côte
d'Ivoire is the world's leading exporter. He had reportedly begun writing a
book jointly with André Dacoury-Table, a former political associate of
Gbagbo's who had gone on to become one of the leaders of the former rebel New
Forces and foreign affairs coordinator of the Côte d'Ivoire Patriotic Movement
(MPCI).
    Kieffer was kidnapped from an Abidjan supermarket parking lot on 16 April
2004 after been lured there by Michel Legré, the brother-in-law of President
Laurent Gbagbo's wife, Simone Gbagbo. French investigating judge Patrick
Ramael indicted Legré on 21 October 2004 on a charge of "abducting and
holding" Kieffer.
    After 18 months in an Abidjan detention centre, Legré was supposedly
placed under house arrest in Abidjan but in fact he is moving about the city
freely and has even been abroad.
    Jean-Tony Oulai, an Ivorian citizen who claims to have been a captain in
the Ivorian army, was detained while in France on January 2006 and indicted on
the same charge of "abducting and holding" Kieffer.
    Certain witnesses allege that he supervised Kieffer's abduction. He
continues to be detained in France.
    The French investigation has been handicapped by the fraught nature of
relations between France and the Ivory Coast, the difficulty of conducting
enquiries in Abidjan and the code of silence observed by those involved, who
are all close to President Gbagbo.
    See the full chronology (in French) :
    http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30839




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Managing Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208,
www.rsfcanada.org

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