Open letter to Mr de Villepin, French Minister of Foreign affairs

30/12/2003
Report
en fr

Dear Sir,

The International federation for human rights (FIDH) and the Human rights league (LDH) wish, once more, to draw your attention on Mr Larifou’s situation. He currently faces judicial charges at the initiative of the authorities of the Comoros. Even if Mr Larifou has been freed, he is still compelled not to leave the Comoros territory. As far as we know, the facts he is accused of are more related to politics than to justice.

The FIDH and the LDH had already alerted you on his condition and asked you to intervene firmly before the authorities of the Comoros in order to guarantee that Mr Larifou gets a treatment in accordance with international norms and that he is not being detained needlessly. You are not without kwowing that Mr Larifou’s detention in the Comoros is ruining his professional life and threatens deeply his personal.

On December 18th 2003, considering that the criminal court had not taken a decision on his appeal within the legal time limit of 30 days, Mr Larifou benefited from an automatic lifting of his probation. Thus he informed the examining magistrate of his visit to the Reunion. On December 20th, he was arrested at the airport and put in police custody.

Moreover, the FIDH and the LDH peruse that the latter had been taken to hospital that same evening, and that the French Embassy turned him away when trying to get a hearing there.

The FIDH and the LDH are concerned by this situation on two levels: on the one hand, because of the interested party’ s health, and on the other hand, because of the behaviour of the French delegation in the Comoros. If the facts related to the FIDH and the LDH are correct, it seems surprising that a French national is not being given access to his Embassy and cannot ask for the French authorities’ help.

The FIDH and the LDH express their great concerns on a situation which lasted for too long, and does not feel a true will existed on part of the French delegation in the Comoros to help one of their nationals who faces an arbitrary situation that one cannot support.

The FIDH and the LDH urge you, one more time, to intervene so that Mr Larifou leaves the Comoros territory as soon as possible. The FIDH and the LDH ask as well to be informed of the actions undertaken by your services in that sense.

In this order, and before starting any public action which could become necessary, the FIDH and the LDH would be grateful to have an interview with you.

Yours sincerely,

Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH

Michel Tubiana, President of the LDH

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