World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Niger Journalists Remain In Jail Despite Pressure


By Jade Heilman
Dakar

Niger Journalists Remain in Jail Despite International Pressure

Two journalists in Niger remain in jail despite pressure from international watchdog groups and complaints from their lawyers that there is no evidence left against them. Their incarceration took place after they reported about the ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. Jade Heilmann reports from our regional bureau in Dakar.

Radio journalist Moussa Kaka was jailed September 20 in the capital Niamey and charged with involvement in a plot against state authority.

This followed repeated telephone calls he made to the Tuareg-led rebel group the Niger Movement for Justice, known as the MNJ. Authorities had been tapping Kaka's telephone conversations with MNJ members. Based on these recordings, the prosecution called for life imprisonment.

Kaka's lawyer, Moussa Coulibaly says, the conversations were completely within the realm of journalism.

He says there was nothing unusual, and that Kaka was just working as a journalist, trying to get information about the rebellion.

To further boost Coulibaly's argument, a judge earlier this month decided not to accept the tapes as evidence in court, saying they were not obtained legally.

Leonard Vincent, head of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders Africa desk, explains Kaka still has not been released, because the prosecution is now appealing the decision that the tapes were obtained illegally.

"We are waiting for final decision of the appeal chamber, which it is supposed to be known in the coming days or weeks," he said. "And based on that decision we will know if the journalists can be freed or not."

Prior to his arrest, Kaka had been repeatedly warned he was too close to the rebels, and reporting about them too much. The government says the rebels are drug-traffickers and bandits using political issues as a cover for criminal activities.

The rebels say they are fighting for economic empowerment of Tuaregs on uranium-rich land.

Journalist Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, editor of the private newspaper Aïr-Info, was arrested on similar charges. He has been detained for over 50 days.

Reporters Without Borders Leonard Vincent believes these arrests stem in part from pressure the military has been putting on the government.

"The military has been confronted with the very violent acts of the Tuareg rebellion in the north and they have started to look everywhere for complicity," he added.

A government spokesman contacted for this report declined to comment.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news