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Niger6 February 2008

Agadez-based journalist to be released conditionally today

Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, the editor of Aïr Infos, a privately-owned weekly based in the northern city of Agadez, will be freed later today after a criminal appeal court in Niamey ruled this morning that he should be granted a provisional release, his lawyer told Reporters Without Borders.

“We hail this sensible decision by the judicial authorities and we are delighted for Diallo, his family and colleagues,” the press freedom organisation said. “We hope this bodes well for next week, when the same court is to issue a decision on the case of another detained journalist, Moussa Kaka.”

Diallo’s lawyer, Moussa Coulibaly, told Reporters Without Borders : “The prosecutor will convey the judge’s decision to the prosecutor-general, who will sign the provisional release order. Ibrahim will still be under judicial investigation, but he will be freed some time today.”

Arrested on 9 October, Diallo was charged with “criminal association” because he had allegedly been in close contact with the Tuareg rebels of the Niger People’s Movement for Justice (MNJ) who have been operating in the north of the country since February. He has been held in Agadez prison.

The court is to issue a ruling on Kaka’s case on 12 February. The manager of Radio Saraouniya and Niger correspondent of Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, Kaka was arrested on 20 September and charged with “complicity in a conspiracy against the authority of the state.” He is being held in Niamey prison.



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