EU Calls on the Authorities in Comoros to Ensure Respect for Human Rights

European Parliament

August 15, 2018//-Dissidents and opposition leaders are being arrested on a daily basis in connection with a coup attempt in Comoros.  

Amongst those arrested are the writer Sast – Fahad Dada – the sister of Sast (secretary of  President Azali) and Me Bahassane, a lawyer, and former vice president Djaffar’s brother.
There are suspicions that this is an attempt to eliminate some political and military personalities. According to the prosecutor, the investigation continues.

The arrests come after many others in recent weeks related to the referendum boycotted by the opposition, which considerably strengthened the powers of President Azali, who can now run for two consecutive terms, and abolish the positions of Vice-President and the Constitutional Court. The result of the referendum is disputed by the opposition party and the civil society.

Juwa Party spokesperson Mr Abubakar Aboud said: “Going by the past events, we are not surprised by the proliferation of this type of serious acts. The lack of credibility of the judicial authorities reinforces the idea of government conspiracies that are aiming to arrest discordant voices. All of this proves that the country is going through an unprecedented period of instability.”

Mr Ibrahim Mohd Soule, MP and former General Secretary of the Juwa Party  stressed: “As you know, the Juwa party is a party rooted in democratic principles, which we speak and defend everywhere and at any time. We are therefore firmly opposed to a take-over by force or by any other anti-democratic practices that we firmly condemn.

“We will never support initiatives that may affect the peace, security or stability of our country. For the moment, the investigations are in progress and we hope that they are as objective as possible and that the truth will be known, otherwise the credibility of the country would be compromised.”

The European Union considers recent events in the Comoros as “worrying”.
“Violent reactions after the announcement of the results of the constitutional referendum , recent arrests, including that of the Secretary-General of the Juwa party, and the house arrest of former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, are troubling for Comoros, “said the EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Maja Kocijancic, in a statement.

“Any constitutional amendment requires a calm environment that respects the rule of law and human rights, including freedom of the press,” added EU spokesperson, reaffirming the support of the 28 countries “to the efforts of the African Union to appease the political climate.”

Last week, the Supreme Court validated the “Yes” victory in the referendum, with 92.43% of the vote, for a participation rate of 62.71%.
According to reports, Third Way Collective, a civil society organisation, has called the referendum the “most scandalous electoral farce of recent years,” saying that the voters had “avoided the ballots” and that the opposition had been “gagged.”
The Government approved the entry into force of the new constitution after the validation of the results by the Supreme Court.
In fact, straight after the entry into force of the said Constitution, the Vice-Presidents, commissioners and councils, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice disappeared.

The archipelago, which is situated in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar and is one of the world’s poorest countries, was repeatedly shaken by separatist movements and instability prior to the passing of a new constitution in 2001 providing for the rotation of power between the islands.
Under the current constitution, power rotates every five years between the archipelago’s three main islands.
The nation was plunged into crisis in April when Assoumani suspended the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, sparking opposition protests.
One of his leading critics, ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, was placed under house arrest without any real justification, while another prominent opposition leader was heavily beaten and jailed following protests against the regime. Azali’s  vice-president Ahmed Said Jaffar last month dubbed the referendum illegal, urging Comorans to “reject the dangerous abuse” of power.
Comoros vice-president Moustoidrane Abdou escaped an assassination attempt this month when his vehicle was fired on days before a controversial referendum on a new constitution.
The U.S and the European Union have asked their citizens to hide and avoid getting out in Comoros especially in Anjouan ahead of this referendum.

Last but not least, the vast majority of the opposition leaders in Anjouan have all been arrested without knowing the reasons of their arrest.
The president does not have the power to dismiss the three vice-presidents under that constitution, but Assoumani’s new constitution would allow him to abolish their posts.
African Eye Report

 

 

 

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