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Cablegate: Niger: Some Former Parliamentarians Arrested; Detained

VZCZCXRO8933
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0640/01 2471234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041234Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5297
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1655
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NIAMEY 000640

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

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: Niger: Some Former Parliamentarians Arrested; Detained
Civil Society Activist Remains in Prison; Jailed Journalist
Transferred Upcountry

Ref: a) Niamey 630 b) Niamey 626 c) Niamey 618
d) Niamey 609 e) Niamey 567 f) Niamey 378
g) 08 Niamey 509

NIAMEY 00000640 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: On September 3, Niamey police summoned and arrested
several former National Assembly Deputies in connection with "unduly
received amounts." Detained civil society activist Marou Amadou and
journalist Abdoulaye Tiemogo remain in prison. End summary.

--------------------------------------
Several Members of Parliament Detained
--------------------------------------

2. (U) On September 3, the judicial police summoned, questioned, and
detained at least 17 former National Assembly Deputies from all
political parties. Reportedly, these arrests relate to the National
Assembly members'"unduly received amounts" during the period of 2001
to June 2009 (ref g). The detained include:

Sanoussi Jackou (PNA)
Hassoumi Massaoudou (PNDS)
Bazoum Mohamed (PNDS)
Mrs. El-Back Zeinabou Tari Bako (PNDS)
Issaka Hassane Djegoule (MODEN)
Soumana Sanda (MODEN)
Bonkano Maifada (MODEN)
Ms. Mariama Alhassane (MNSD)
Gremah Boukar (MNSD)
Mrs. Mariama Mathieu (CDS)
Ibrahim Abalele (CDS)

Other Deputies are expected to report before investigators today.

3. (U) The convocation of former National Assembly members occurs a
few days before the closing of candidacies to the announced
legislative October 20 elections (ref d). There were also rumors
that the opposition planned to support the symbolic "opening of an
extraordinary session" of the National Assembly that was dissolved
in May (ref f). Reportedly, the "session" was to declare Tandja in
violation of the constitution, and decide that he be impeached and
brought to justice.

4. (SBU) Political parties and analysts have criticized moves by
President Tandja to have former National Assembly members pay back
excess allowances that the Constitutional Court had ruled improper.
According to them, Tandja was upset that Deputies had appealed
directly to the Constitutional Court for advice regarding how they
could stop the President from organizing the constitutional
referendum. Moreover, Tandja repotedly did not appreciate the
National Assembly's ove last January to create an investigative
commssion on the allocation of mining permits and manaement of
revenues deriving from mineral concessins. According to opposition
parties, Tandja feard some Deputies intended to take actions to
invesigate his family and friends who were beneficiarie of such
permits.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Rights Activist and Newpaper Editor Still in Prison
--------------------------------------------- ------

5. After the Nimey Tribunal's rejection of his August 21 request
for provisional release (ref b), the senior investigating judge
granted Mrou Amadou such release on August 28. In fact, aftr
hearing Amadou on the merits of the case, the udge determined he no
longer needed to maintain madou in custody, thus responded
favorably to th second request submitted by the detainee's lawyers
However, "Government of Niger authorities" objcted to and appealed
the judge's decision due to"risks to disturb public order."
Amadou's lawyer decided to refer the case to a higher jurisdictio,
the Niamey Court of Appeals. Amadou remains in jail as of this
reporting.

6. Le Canard Dechaine editor Abdoulaye Tiemogo, jailed on August 1
(ref e), that same date was admitted to the Niamey National Hospital
due to an acute malaria attack. On August 31, security forces
aboard two vehicles forcibly "extracted" Tiemogo and took him to an
"unknown destination," despite the treating doctor's warning that
his patient had not fully recovered, and without informing his
lawyers. It was later learned that security forces transferred
Tiemogo to the Ouallam prison, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north

NIAMEY 00000640 002.4 OF 002


of Niamey. His lawyers remain concerned that his health condition
may deteriorate due to the poor facilities in Ouallam.

ALLEN

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