29.05.2002 - Two journalists and a newspaper owner were released
Abarad Moudour Zakara and Seïni Oumarou Jackou were sentenced to a four month imprisonment term, and ordered to pay a 100 000 CFA francs (about 153 euros) fine for libelling Niger’s Trade Minister. Mr Jackou and Abdoulaye Tiemogo were not found guilty of incitement to ethnical hatred.
22.05.2002 - Two journalists and a newspaper owner jailed in Niamey
Reporters Without Borders has protested the arrests of Abdoulaye Tiémogo, publication director of the private weekly "Le Canard Déchaîné", and Abarad Mouddour Zakara, publication director of the private weekly "La Roue de l’histoire". Zakara was arrested and kept in police custody on 18 May 2002, following Commerce Minister Seïni Oumarou’s filing of a complaint for "defamation". Sanoussi Jackou, owner of "La Roue de l’histoire" newspaper and president of the Parti Nigérien pour l’autogestion (PNA), a small opposition party, was also arrested on 17 May in the context of the same case. Tiémogo was held for questioning on 17 May, one week after hosting a debate on the private radio station Tambara FM during which Jackou accused Prime Minister Hama Amadou of ethnic and regional discrimination in the appointment of high state officials. The three men were placed in provisional detention at Niamey’s civilian prison on 21 May. They are expected to stand trial on 24 May and face a six-month to two-year prison sentence.
In a letter to Communications Minister Mamane Sani, Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Robert Ménard stated, "These journalists should not be imprisoned. We remind you that the United Nations considers incarceration to be a serious human rights violation as a penalty for violations of the press laws." The organisation asked him to consult with the relevant authorities to secure the journalists’ immediate release.
Reporters Without Borders also recalled that Tiémogo was imprisoned at Niamey’s civilian prison for 48 days in 2001. On 19 October 2001, the Niamey First Instance Tribunal sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment for "defamation". Agriculture Minister Wassalké Boukari had filed a complaint against "Le Canard Déchaîné" following its publication of an article alleging that he had embezzled 200 million CFA francs (approx. US$281,000; 305,000 euros) from a gold-mining area in the west of the country. The minister withdrew his complaint at the start of the appeals trial.