Niger press groups slam journalist's detention

2017-07-05 21:30
Handcuffs. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Handcuffs. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Niamey - A dozen Niger journalists' groups condemned on Wednesday the jailing of a fellow journalist, saying it was "in total violation" of press law in the west African country.

Journalist Ali Soumana, founder of the weekly Le Courrier known for its often harsh criticisms of President Mahamadou Issoufou's government, was charged on Monday after many days in detention for obtaining a document through "fraudulent means".

The document in question is related to a five-year-old legal case between Niger and a Lebanese company.

"The press house protests all violations against laws governing the occupation of journalists in Niger," the journalists' associations said in a letter, adding that it firmly supported Soumana.

Under a 2010 law, journalists in Niger are no longer detained for press offences but are instead fined.

The press coalition also expressed "concern" over the "harassment and pressure" it said journalists feel in Niger during the course of their work.

Soumana was previously detained for 10 days in June 2016, along with Le Courrier director Moussa Dodo, before being handed a three-month suspended sentence for publishing documents implicating leading Nigerien figures in a scandal centred on how to pass the competitive test to become a government employee.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which at the time called the detention a "witch hunt," has criticised Niger for its routine harsh treatment of journalists.

Read more on:    reporters without borders  |  niger  |  west africa

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