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First published on Amnesty International
Responding to the questioning of the executive director of Transparency International Initiative Madagascar (TI-MG) Ketakandriana Rafitoson by the police this afternoon (23 November), Muleya Mwananyanda, the regional director for Amnesty International East and Southern Africa Regional Office, said:
“The Madagascar authorities must refrain from the misuse of the justice system to harass and intimidate human rights defenders. Ketakandriana has done nothing more than carry out her work exposing serious allegations of potential corruption, fraud and money laundering.
“The summons and questioning of Ketakandriana on accusations including ‘abusive and slanderous denunciations’ is clearly intended to send a chilling message and intimidate human rights defenders in Madagascar.”
The police referred the case to the public prosecutor and Ketakandriana and TI-MG’s chairperson, Dominique Rakotomalala, will appear before the public prosecutor for questioning on the accusations on Thursday, 24 November.
Ketakandriana was summoned by the head of the central services for the fight against forgery, fraud and falsification to give a statement at the premises of the economic police in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar on the afternoon of 23 November. The accusation filed by the Groupement des Exportateurs des Litchis (GEL) against Ketakandriana Rafitoson follows the denounces of potential infractions of corruption, fraud and money laundering in the lychee sector filed by TI-MG on 10 November at Antananarivo’s Anticorruption Court.
In recent years, the Malagasy authorities have increased the repression of human rights defenders, whistleblowers and dissenting voices. This includes the judicial prosecution of Jeannot Randriamanana, Ravo Ramasomanana, Raleva, and Clovis Razafimalala, because they uncovered serious allegations of corruption and human rights violations. Many potential whistle-blowers in Madagascar risk unjust treatment for exercising their human rights. The protection of human rights defenders, including whistle-blowers is integral for any country aspiring to transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights.