Gabonese doctor with ‘damning report’ on poll unrest freed

Dr Sylvie Nkoghe-Mbot spent more than a week in detention

Gulf News

Libreville: A Gabonese doctor who compiled a “damning report” on the post-electoral violence that rocked the oil-rich central African nation was released on Saturday after more than a week in detention, her lawyer and a civil society group said.

“Dr Sylvie Nkoghe-Mbot was released on Saturday at 7pm (1800 GMT),” lawyer Eric Moutet and the Dynamique Unitaire civil society group said in two identical text messages.

They did not specify if the 56-year-old paediatrician, who heads a nongovernment organisation named Hippocrate, had been given conditional release.

Violence erupted in Gabon after President Ali Bongo was declared winner, with a wafer-thin majority of the August 27 vote.

Defeated presidential candidate Jean Ping filed a legal challenge but the country’s top court dismissed opposition claims of vote fraud and upheld Bongo’s win.

Opposition figures say more than 50 people were killed in the post-poll violence but the government has given a toll of three dead.

Ping’s French lawyer Moutet took up the case of Nkoghe-Mbot, who he said was the “co-author of a damning report on the victims of the exactions of the presidential guard.”

About 1,000 people were arrested following the post-poll violence and around 70 of them are still in detention, a judicial source said.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague has said she is opening an initial probe into the unrest.