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Niger26 August 2002

Radio France Internationale and Reporters sans frontières correspondent briefly detained and released

Moussa Kaka, a local correspondent for Radio France Internationale and Reporters sans frontières and the director of the private station Radio Saraounia, was released on the night of 23 to 24 August 2002, after being interrogated for almost 10 hours. He was arrested on the morning of 23 August and taken to the Niamey National Police Station’s High Command. The journalist was interrogated about a mutiny by soldiers in early August in the south-eastern region of the country and about his sources.

Following the mutiny, the president declared a state of alert in the country and introduced measures limiting press freedom and freedom of expression. A decree was passed banning "the dissemination, by any communications means, of reports or allegations liable to cast doubt on national defence operations." The authorities threatened to punish journalists who did not respect the new measures.

Reporters sans frontières recalls that another journalist has been imprisoned at Niamey’s civilian prison since 18 June. Abdoulaye Tiémogo, publication director of the satirical weekly "Le Canard déchaîné", was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for "defamation". Prime Minister Hama Amadou filed a complaint against the journalist following the publication of three highly critical articles in "Le Canard déchaîné". The journalist accused the government leader of seeking to bribe the speaker of the National Assembly in order to retain the post of prime minister.

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