BREAKING NEWS: Split decision in Togo’s trial of Adventist pastor, others detained
Monteiro, Moumouni acquitted, others sentenced to more prison, some for life
In a case that has captured the attention of the global denomination, the two men, as well as three others, were detained nearly two years ago without trial and solely on the accusation of one man who was described as a “pathological liar” in a court-ordered psychiatric exam. That man, Kpatcha Simliya, who was also detained, was also convicted in this morning's ruling and sentenced to life in prison.
Todd McFarland, an associate general counsel for the Adventist world church headquarters, who was with the defense team at this weekend’s trial, said the ruling also included two other men—Beteynam Raphael Kpiki Sama, who was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined 10 million CFA francs (US$20,800), and Idrissou Moumouni, who was acquitted.
Depending on different newspaper and police accounts, more than a dozen bodies of women between the ages of 12 and 36 had been found in the northern Lomé suburb of Agoué. The bodies had stab wounds and some sexual organs had been removed. Blood and animal parts are often used in ceremonies of Voodoo, which is widely practiced in Togo.
When no arrests were made, the public demanded justice for the killings, church leaders said.
Simliya was later shown on television surrounded by police guards, telling the story of the series of murders he said that he organized and naming accomplices who collected blood and organs. But much of the story proved unlikely, including the number of victims and the methods used, according to Simliya’s medical examiner.
“Any informed and reasonable man would have doubts regarding his incredible outpouring or the feasibility of his crimes or supposed crimes,” a September 9, 2012, court-ordered psychiatric exam stated, which was viewed by ANN.
Simliya would later recant his accusation, saying he was beaten by police and forced to give names of people he supposedly knew were co-conspirators in a blood trafficking network, according to the psychiatric exam.