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Niger25 February 2003

Editor of weekly paper released from prison after eight months

Abdoulaye Tiémogo, editor of the weekly Le Canard déchaîné, was released on 18 February after serving an eight-month prison term for libelling Prime Minister Hama Amadou by saying he was corrupt.

"I’m going to continue with the paper," he told Reporters Without Borders, "but now I’ll be a bit more careful."

He was arrested on 18 June last year after a formal complaint by the prime minister, whom he had accused in three articles of trying to corrupt the head of parliament so he could keep his post as prime minister. He was convicted and sentenced on 28 June.

Tiémogo had earlier been charged on 19 October 2001 by a Niamey court after criticising agriculture minister Wassalké Boukari for corruption.

The privately-owned radio station Nomade FM, which broadcasts in the region of Agadez, 1,000 km northeast of Niamey, was shut down on 11 February for "inciting rebellion" a few days after it invited two former anti-government rebels onto a talk show. Reporters Without Borders urged the government on 17 February to allow the station to reopen at once so its journalists could once more do their job freely.

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