Former African president embarks on hunger strike


(MENAFN) Ali Bongo, the ousted president of Gabon, has initiated a hunger strike to protest against the purported torture of himself and his family members, who have been held in detention since August. According to reports from their lawyer, Francois Zimeray, Bongo's two youngest sons, Jalil and Bilal, have also joined their father in the hunger strike, citing their prolonged deprivation of freedom.

Zimeray conveyed to Radio France Internationale (RFI) that the decision to embark on the hunger strike was motivated by the alleged mistreatment endured by the family during their nine-month detention. He highlighted that the family members, including Bongo's wife and other siblings, have reportedly faced arrest, torture, and denial of fundamental rights.

Ali Bongo, who had ruled Gabon for 14 years, was placed under house arrest in Libreville following a coup staged by Gabonese soldiers in August, which nullified the results of the disputed presidential election. Despite being declared the winner of the election with 64.27% of the vote, Bongo's victory was contested, leading to the military intervention.

The detention of Ali Bongo, along with his sons and other family members, marks a significant political upheaval in Gabon, a country historically ruled by the Bongo family. Ali Bongo had succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who held power for over four decades.

Furthermore, allegations of corruption and embezzlement have led to the imprisonment of Bongo's wife, Sylvia Bongo, and his eldest son, Noureddin Bongo, by the new leadership. Reports from the Bongo family's legal representatives, cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP), claim that Noureddin and Sylvia have also been subjected to physical assault while in custody, prompting further concern and condemnation.

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