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Cablegate: Niger: Update On Case of Civil Society Activist Amadou

VZCZCXRO4553
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0597 2291710
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171710Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5265
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1643
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000597

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, AND DRL/EA
ACCRA ALSO FOR USAID/WA
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU - J MAYBURY
PARIS FOR AF WATCHER
PLS PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/W

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SOCI NG
SUBJECT: Niger: Update on Case of Civil Society Activist Amadou

Ref: a) Niamey 00593, b) Niamey 00584

1. As of August 17, Marou Amadou, President of the United Front for
the Protection of Democratic Gains (FUSAD), arrested on August 10 on
various inconsistent charges and then finally jailed for "operating
a non-authorized organization," remains in custody at Koutoukale
maximum security prison. FUSAD informed Embassy staff that the
Niamey Tribunal will examine his case on its merits on August 21.

2. Amadou's lawyers denounce his alleged "judicial harassment."
Several civil society leaders claim that the charges of "managing a
non-authorized organization" will not hold. They base their
argument on relevant articles of the Constitution, namely: Article
9.1., which states, "Within the framework of the freedom of
association recognized and guaranteed by this Constitution,
political parties, groups of political parties, labor unions and
other associations shall form and carry out their activities freely
under reserve to respect the principles of national sovereignty, of
democracy, and of the laws of the Republic;" Article 23.1., which
stipulates that "any person has the right to freedom of thought,
expression of opinion, conscience, religion, and belief;" and
Article 24, which provides that "the state recognizes and guarantees
the freedom of movement and the freedoms of association, assembly,
and demonstration under conditions defined by law." They also
pointed out the fact that numerous associations or groups of
associations had been created recently without authorization (ref
A). In the meanwhile, several international organizations and
nations (including the United States) have called for Amadou's
release.

3. Comment: Amadou's lawyers said they would request his
provisional release after the August 21 court session. His
appearance before the judge on August 21 would coincide with the end
of the opposition's August 19-21 protests (ref B); perhaps the
choice of dates for his hearing is intentional, designed to prevent
his involvement in rallies or strikes. End comment.

ALLEN

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