Rémy Quignolot, ex-soldier accused of espionage in the Central African Republic, has returned to France

Rémy Quignolot was arrested on May 10, 2021 in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, where he had resided since 2013. Arrested while having breakfast in a cafe in the city, this 57-year-old Frenchman was imprisoned for illegal possession of weapons. Justice accused him of holding in particular an old ault rifle that he would have been wrong not to declare.

Father of four children, Rémy Quignolot, was also suspected of “espionage” and “terrorism” or “undermining the internal security of the state”, “conspiracy” and “criminal ociation”. The arrest of this former soldier, a non-commissioned officer in the French army in the 1980s and long since reconverted into private security, was part of in a context of tensions between Paris and Bangui.

House arrest after hunger strike

In April 2022, local justice decided to drop, for lack of evidence, six of the nine charges against Rémy Quignolot, in particular the heaviest, with the exception of that of espionage. But his conditions of detention had not improved since he still shared a tiny cell of 5 m2 with another detainee.

Five months later, on September 28, 2022, after a two-week hunger and thirst strike and with the public support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his provisional release was finally pronounced by the Central African justice and accompanied by house arrest, at the very heart of the French Emby in Bangui.

His state of health and his kidney problems would then have ceased to deteriorate, for lack of medical means on the spot to provide him with dialysis. It is for this medical reason that his trial, scheduled for last December, has been postponed. And it is also for this reason that his evacuation from the Central African Republic, via Gabon, was finally recorded this Saturday, May 20. He arrived at Charles-de-Gaulle airport this Sunday morning.

Huge relief from his loved ones

“This happy news can be appreciated on at least two levels, supports Michel-Thierry Atangana, president of the Atangana ociation against oppression and arbitrariness, himself a former arbitrary detainee in Cameroon, who worked behind the scenes in the framework of negotiations between Paris and Bangui. Thanks to the joint work of the ambador of the Central African Republic in France, to the members of the Africa cell of the Élysée (Franck Paris and Nadege Chouat) and the Quai d’Orsay, the issues of preserving life and human dignity have been given due consideration by the Central African authorities. This evacuation is also part of a work to reweave relations between the two countries. »

Reached on Saturday by telephone through Me Sylvia De Souza, Caroline Quignolot, older sister of Rémy Quignolot, cannot hide an immense relief. “I am thinking of all the people who made this outcome possible, in particular Jean-Marc Grosgurin, the French ambador to the Central African Republic, who has personally taken care of Rémy’s fate since his first call for help in May 2021”, appreciates she.

“We are now going to work so that the last charges against him are dropped,” concludes Michel-Thierry Atangana.

Source link

Leave a Reply