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Niger28 December 2007

Message of support for Reporters Without Borders correspondent as he completes 100 days in detention

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for Moussa Kaka, director of privately-owned Radio Saraounia and Niger correspondent of both Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, on the eve of his 100th day in detention tomorrow on a charge of “complicity in a breach of state authority.”

“We would like to mark his 100th day in detention by sending him another message of solidarity,” the press freedom organisation said. “We are still awaiting a decision from the judicial authorities, who in the coming weeks are supposed to rule on the legality of the phone taps being used as evidence against him, and we trust the outcome will be favourable.”

Reporters Without Borders added : “Our thoughts also go out to Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, a newspaper editor held in Agadez since 9 October on a similar charge, and we urge the authorities to release both of them quickly.”

Kaka was arrested on 20 September and charged with “complicity in a conspiracy against the authority of the state” because the authorities claim that he showed that he was “in cahoots” with the Tuareg rebels of the Nigerien People’s Movement for Justice (MNJ) in the course of regular phone calls with one of the MNJ’s leaders. The charge carries the death penalty.

The investigating judge assigned to the case ruled at the end of November that the telephone taps on which the charge was based were illegal. The prosecutor appealed against this decision and the Niamey appeal court must now give a ruling on the issue. If it rules in Kaka’s favour, he ought to be freed.

Diallo, who is the editor of Aïr Info, a fortnightly based in the northern city of Agadez, was arrested on 9 October and was charged 20 days later with “criminal association” with the MNJ. The charge is also based on telephone taps. He is now being held in Agadez prison pending trial.

Two French journalists who went to Niger on assignment for the Franco-German TV station Arte, Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson, have been held on a charge of “breach of national security” since 17 December. The authorities claim they were making an “illicit report” about the MNJ. They had a visa and permission to do a report on bird flu.

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