Niger strips opposition parliamentary leader of immunity

2015-07-29 14:02

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Niamey - Niger's parliament on Tuesday stripped the head of the opposition MODEN party grouping of his immunity from prosecution, opening the way to his trial on charges of corruption, judicial sources said.

A magistrate said Bakary Seidou was suspected of misappropriating 6.5 billion CFA francs ($10m) in food aid using false documentation in 2005 when he worked in the office of then-prime minister Amadou Hama, now the leader of MODEN.

"The office of the National Assembly lifted on Tuesday the parliamentary immunity of Bakary Seidou," said another magistrate, who asked not to be identified.

The move came after a court gave the green light this month for criminal charges against Hama in connection with a child-trafficking ring, together with his wife and some 30 other members of the political and social elite.

Hama, who was until recently the speaker of the national assembly, is regarded as a leading opposition challenger to President Mahamadou Issoufou in next year's presidential election.

An ally of Issoufou until 2013, Hama has protested his innocence and fled into exile in Europe.

The removal of Seidou's immunity was requested by Issoufou's government this month and would allow him to be detained by police at any time.

Seidou has said he is innocent and denounced the move as a politically-motivated attempt to sideline him ahead of presidential elections due next year.

"I have all the proof to demonstrate my innocence and I have already shown this to the investigators," he said.

Read more on:    mahamadou issoufou  |  niger  |  west africa

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