Coup plot : verdict on Thursday

13/09/2011
Coup plot : verdict on Thursday

The half-brother of Togo President Faure Gnassingbe, on trial for allegedly masterminding a coup plot in 2009, called Monday for "reconciliation" within the family as the case neared its end.

Again declaring his innocence before the court, Kpatcha Gnassingbe, on trial along with 32 others, said he wanted to "ask the Lord to touch the heart of everyone, especially my brother Faure".

"I ask forgiveness from the (other) accused because this is very much a family affair," he said in an address to the judge. "... A reconciliation is needed."

A total of 33 suspects have been on trial at Togo's supreme court over the alleged 2009 plot which was supposed to have been carried out while the president was away on a trip to Asia.

Prosecutors initially said 32 suspects were on trial, but have since amended that, explaining that another person currently on the run was also included (Bassam Najjar, a Lebanese citizen).

Kpatcha Gnassingbe, a former defence minister, is accused of masterminding the plot targeting his half-brother.

On Friday, prosecutors requested life in prison for Kpatcha Gnassingbe and seven others.

Those seven included former defence chief Assani Tidjani and a cousin of the president, Esso Gnassingbe.

A 12-month prison term with two months suspended was requested for a ninth suspect, while prosecutors said they had no evidence against the other 24, including another half brother of the president, Essolizam Gnassingbe, and two other cousins.

All 32 of the defendants who have appeared in court have proclaimed their innocence.

Supreme Court President Abalo Petchelebia adjourned the case on Monday and said he would give his verdict Thursday morning at 1000 GMT.

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