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Cablegate: Gon Releases Jailed French Journalists

VZCZCXRO9152
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0093 0231505
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231505Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4057
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0645

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000093

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W DENNISON, AF/RSA HARPOLE AND AF/PDPA LISENBY

PARIS FOR AF WATCHER

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI KCOR KPAO NG
SUBJECT: GON releases jailed French Journalists

REF: 07 Niamey 1478

1. On January 18, the GON released two French journalists from
pre-trial detention on bail of 10 million FCFA each (exchange rate
currently 448 FCFA = 1$US). Their bond was paid that same day and
the two flew to Paris later that evening.

2. Journalists Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson of European TV
station ARTE were arrested on December 17 for violating the terms of
their media accreditation. Both entered Niger requesting to cover
avian flu concerns in the southern Nigerien city of Maradi; however,
they instead headed to northern Niger and were discovered by police
with footage of MNJ rebels (reftel).

3. The two were jailed and later charged with violating state
security. Their hearings started on January 16.

4. It is not clear at this time if/when the journalists will be
required to return to Niger for trial. No trial date has been
announced.
ALLEN

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