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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Niger jails publication’s head

This ruling has no legal basis and I am deeply shocked by it

A court in Niger jailed the director of a satirical private weekly for three months for "discrediting a court decision", his lawyer said.

  • Niger press strike for freedom

  • Niger arrests opposition figure

  • Clashes over Niger referendum

    "This ruling has no legal basis and I am deeply shocked by it," Marc Lebihan, who has appealed the court decision, told journalists on Tuesday.

    Abdoulaye Tiemogo, of Le Canard dechaine, was charged last week after he commented on a private television channel on an arrest warrant issued by authorities against former prime minister Hama Amadou, the lawyer said.

    "We are surprised and sad over this heavy punishment," added Boubacar Diallo, the president of the Association of Independent Press in Niger (ANEPI).

    Tiemogo fled the country last August following a complaint lodged by President Mamadou Tandja over an article suggesting he planned to impose his son to succeed him should he fail in his bid to revise the constitution.

    The controversial referendum earlier this month cleared the way for Tandja, in power since 1999, to run in subsequent elections, potentially allowing him to hold on to power for life.

    On his return to Niger in May, Tiemogo was charged with "spreading false information" although that case was subsequently dropped, ANEPI said.

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