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Niger25 September 2007

Moussa Kaka taken to Niamey prison without explanation

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the transfer of radio station head Moussa Kaka to Niamey prison after a prolonged period in custody without being taken before the prosecutor or being given any explanation, as demanded under law.

Kaka, of privately-owned Radio Saraouniya, and correspondent in Niger for Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Reporters Without Borders, was moved to prison on 24 September, four days after his arrest.

“It is astonishingly lax to arrest one of the country’s most prominent journalists without producing any serious proof and flouting the law. In such a serious case, it is beyond belief that the Nigerian authorities should show such contempt. It gives legitimate reason to question the credibility of the procedure which led to Moussa Kama being sent to prison,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

The journalist was held in custody for a four-day period which expired at 6pm on 24 September without ever being formally charged.

The only indication of what the journalist is accused of came from the prosecutor general of the Niamey appeal court, Adama Harouna, who said on 21 September that he faced proceedings for “violating state security”, because of his alleged links with the Tuareg rebellion of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ).

His lawyer, Mr Coulibaly said that he should be taken before the prosecutor’s office during 25 September.

In a statement released yesterday, RFI voiced its “very serious concern about the fate of our correspondent”. “In the absence of precise facts setting out the details of the accusations against our correspondent, RFI questions the exact reasons which led the authorities in Niger to arrest and then imprison a journalist, well known for his professionalism and independence,” it said.

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