“How Gabon mistreats a French national”

4:40 p.m., June 4, 2022

Here is his platform: “Brice Laccruche Alihanga, of French nationality, exercised the functions of chief of staff to the President of the Gabonese Republic until the date of his arrest, December 3, 2019. Since that date, he has been detained in the central prison of Libreville , in conditions constituting inhuman and degrading treatment. His situation is revealing of the fate that can be reserved for some of the 1,650 French detainees around the world. The prosecution accuses Mr. Laccruche of having embezzled public funds, without ever having been able to provide any clarification whatsoever on the materiality of the acts he allegedly committed, despite the requests that were made, to many times, by his defense. Beyond the question relating to the merits of the case, there is now, in a crucial way, the question of the conditions of his detention.

A Parisian investigating judge has opened an investigation for arbitrary confinement. Moreover, seized by the defense of Mr. Laccruche, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued, on November 24, 2020, an opinion of extreme severity for the Gabonese authorities, considering that the detention of our compatriot is arbitrary, demanding his immediate release, and criticizing his conditions of detention, which amount to acts of torture. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is one of the United Nations bodies set up to ensure respect for the most fundamental freedoms of the human person. It is composed of high personalities, of different nationalities, and of perfect independence. The Gabonese government, which accepted the competence of this institution, since it presented its observations on the occasion of a perfectly contradictory procedure, refused to respect the terms of the opinion rendered. Furthermore, Mr. Laccruche’s conditions of detention have further worsened. This French national has lost more than 30 kilos and his body is weakening day by day. The Gabonese authorities finally agreed to have him undergo a CT scan.

The conditions of detention of Mr. Laccruche have further worsened

The report of this examination was submitted to several French and Moroccan oncology departments, including the Paoli-Calmettes Institute in Marseille. All confirm that it is extremely likely that Mr. Laccruche suffers from a colorectal tumor requiring additional examinations and urgent care. Unfortunately, the Gabonese authorities persist in maintaining that it would only be a matter of minor gastric embarrassment and refuse him the care that his state of health requires, thus confirming the intention to continue the inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted on him. since his arrest. There is no doubt that the French diplomatic authorities in Libreville are trying to allow the medical care of this French national.

However, no hope seems to exist to date as to a possible transfer to an independent hospital. The prison treatment reserved for this detainee is, in the opinion of the United Nations, constituting both arbitrary confinement, but also acts of torture and inhuman treatment. It is therefore urgently expected of the French authorities that they make every effort, under consular protection, to put an end to the ordeal of our compatriot, before it is too late. This protection provides, under the terms of the decree of May 4, 2018, that assistance must be provided to French nationals who are victims of a crime or misdemeanor abroad. The detention of Mr. Laccruche Alihanga can obviously not justify that his rights, as a victim of the most extreme crimes, be disregarded, except to condone barbaric practices from another age. »

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