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AFRICA

Swede held in Togo on coup suspicions

A 67-year-old man from Örebro in central Sweden is in prison in Togo in western Africa suspected of having helped plan a coup in his former homeland.

Previously, Seidou Issifou was a high-ranking officer in Togo’s army, but fell into disfavour and was jailed.

Issifou and his family later fled Togo. They have been living in Sweden since the early 1990s and are Swedish citizens.

His daughter, 35-year-old Rissa Seidou, tells the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper that her father was arrested during a recent visit to Togo.

On April 12th, a firefight erupted in the capital city of Lomé, after which president Faure Gnassingbé declared that an attempted coup had been thwarted.

Issifou is being held together with a group of officers, charged for having planed to seize power in Togo.

His daughter is convinced the charges against Issifou are false.

“I’ll bet my live that he wasn’t involved in a coup,” she told SvD.

“He’s retired and wants to spend time with his family and take it easy, not get involved with things like this. He absolutely doesn’t want to run a country.”

Sweden’s foreign ministry confirmed for SvD that a Swedish citizen has been arrested in Togo suspected for assisting in a coup.

As Sweden lacks an embassy in Togo, the foreign ministry has asked for France’s help in the matter.

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TURKEY

Turkey furious at axeing of Swedish coup panel

Turkey has angrily reacted to the cancellation of a panel in Sweden about the failed July coup attempt seeking to oust the government from power, calling it a "blow" to the freedom of expression.

Turkey furious at axeing of Swedish coup panel
Turkish people attempt to stop tanks in Ankara on July 16, 2016. Photo: TT
The panel “July 15th — Behind the Scene of the Bloody Coup” had been planned to take place in Stockholm on Friday.
   
The office of the Turkish prime minister, in a statement late on Friday, condemned the cancellation and said it was the result of “interference by some Swedish parliamentarians.”
   
“The cancellation of the panel planned to inform the international community on the treacherous coup attempt of July 15 against Turkey's democracy and parliamentarian system, and the prevention of Turkish
journalists from making a statement contradicts with Sweden's tradition as the country with the world's oldest piece of legislation on the freedom of media,” the statement said.
   
The panel should have taken place in a small school of a Stockholm district. Local authorities claim they cancelled the event because of security concerns.
   
“We did a risk assessment taking into account who would attend and what  could happen outside. I don't want my schools turned into a battlefield,” Bo Andersson, a Stockholm city schools official, said.
   
The Swedish foreign ministry has not commented. Turkey has blamed the failed putsch on a rogue group in the army led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, charges he denies.
   
The government has launched a relentless crackdown on alleged coup plotters, detaining or suspending tens of thousands of people from state institutions including in education.
   
The purge has alarmed European states, which have urged Turkey to act within the rule of law.
   
Furious with the cancellation of the planned event in Stockholm, Ankara said it expected “the European countries, which unfairly criticise Turkey for hindering the freedom of the press at every opportunity, to show the necessary
reaction to these attacks on the freedom of media and expression by Sweden.”
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