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Detained Ivorian cocoa officials complain of rights abuse

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cocoaTop officials from Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry detained under a corruption probe ordered by President Laurent Gbagbo have complained of human rights violations, their lawyer said Monday.

Narcisse Aka said in a statement he had filed a complaint against Ivory Coast to the court of the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS”), on behalf of four officials.

The men, some of whom have been in detention since June, accused the West African country of violating custodial rules and seeking to tamper with their right to a fair trial.

Among the arrested officials are Henri Amouzou, a high-ranking official of the development fund for cocoa and coffee farmers, and Angeline Kili of the cocoa and coffee marketing cooperative.

Meanwhile ECOWAS confirmed to AFP that it had received the officials’ complaint.

Ivory Coast is the biggest producer of cocoa in the world but faces a stiff challenge from its neighbour Ghana. Cocoa and coffee make up 40 percent of the country’s export income and 20 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Source: AFP

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