Fifteen supporters of Togolese opposition party, Pan African National Party (PAN) have been handed jail terms for their role in recent anti-government protests.

The fifteen, including PAN Secretary General, Dr. Kossi Sama, were given sentences ranging between five and nine months by the court, Africanews.com reports.

Paul Dodi Apevon, one of their lawyers who described the case as a politically motivated one, said: “All they’ve said today is that people damaged public property, but no-one has testified to this.

“There is nothing in the prosecution case that names a witness who could prove that they were seen somewhere doing a specific crime,” he added.

A protest in the country recently left seven people dead and about 27 arrested.

The protest was to challenge the presidency of Faure Gnassingbe.

The Gnassingbe family has been ruling Togo since 1967 after a coup by Eyadéma.

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Faure who is also the new chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has won three presidential elections.

But many argue that he won those elections under controversial circumstances.

Residents of Togo are now demanding that the Constitution be amended to prevent his family’s continued stay in power.

Meanwhile, a pro-government demonstration also took place on Tuesday. This was led by Prime Minister Selorm Klassou. He was joined by other state functionaries and supporters of the ruling Rally of the Togolese People (RTP).