Niger: Authorities Putting Rights at Risk.

M2 PRESSWIRE-October 26, 2023-: Niger: Authorities Putting Rights at Risk



NAIROBI, Kenya -- Nigerien authorities have arbitrarily arrested dozens of officials from the ousted government and cracked down on critical media and peaceful dissent since the military coup on July 26, 2023, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The authorities should immediately release those held on politically-motivated charges and ensure due process.

On July 26, Gen. Abdourahmane Tiani and other Nigerien army officers of the self-proclaimed National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (Conseil National pour la sauvegarde de la patrie, CNSP) overthrew the government of President Mohamed Bazoum. Since the coup, Bazoum, his wife, and son have been detained at the presidential palace in Niamey, the capital, and other officials have been arrested. The authorities have threatened, harassed, intimidated, and arbitrarily arrested journalists, youths, and perceived political opponents, as well as others expressing critical views.

"The authorities' arbitrary arrests and assault on the right to freedom of expression put Niger on a dangerous course when it comes to human rights," said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Sahel researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The authorities should end arbitrary detentions, uphold human rights, and allow media freedom."

In response to the coup, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on July 30, closed borders between Niger and ECOWAS' member states, suspended commercial and financial transactions with Niger, and threatened military action if the CNSP did not release Bazoum and return him to power. On August 10, ECOWAS imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on the coup leaders and on the country more generally. On August 22, the African Union suspended Niger from its organs, institutions, and actions, but expressed a reserved position on a possible West African military intervention, calling for a peaceful approach for "the return to constitutional order."

On October 11, Nigerien authorities gave the United Nations resident coordinator, Louise Aubin, 72 hours to leave the country, accusing UN Secretary-General António Guterres of "sabotage" by excluding Niger from the UN General Assembly in September.

Since the coup, the authorities have arbitrarily arrested several officials of the ousted government, including Sani Mahamadou Issoufou, former...

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