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Cablegate: Political Rights Activist Flees Country

VZCZCXYZ1097
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNM #0808 2790723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060723Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5366
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1667
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000808

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
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM SOCI NG
SUBJECT: Political Rights Activist Flees Country

Ref: Niamey 00684

1. (SBU) On October 4, Marou Amadou, President of the United Front
for the Preservation of Democratic Gains (FUSAD), left Niger en
route to Paris. Embassy Political Specialist spoke with Amadou by
phone on October 5, who told him that he and one of his colleagues
were able to leave Niger without any problems. He did state that,
however, their departure from the Niamey airport seemed to "catch
the attention" of those working there. When asked for his reason
for flying to Paris, Amadou answered that he was going for a
"routine medical checkup, work with French counterparts, and then
fly back to Niamey 'very soon.'"

2. (U) Amadou provisionally was released from prison on September 15
by the Niamey Court of Appeals (reftel). Since his release, rumors
surfaced that Nigerien police would try to arrest him under new
charges. On September 17, Amadou noticed a police presence near his
house, and hence alerted fellow rights activists, who immediately
showed up in order to "support and protect him." That night, his
supporters managed to move him secretly from his house to a safe
haven. Amadou's lawyers met with judicial authorities to find out
why there were police officials staked outside of his house. While
the officials said it had not issued a warrant, and that it was not
aware of what had happened during that night, Amadou decided to
remain in hiding. He re-appeared on September 22 and held a press
conference in which he reasserted his determination "to continue the
fight."

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