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Niger14 October 2003

Journalist sentenced to one-year suspended jail sentence and barred from the

On 13 October 2003, Ibrahim Souley, publication director of the weekly "L’Enquêteur", was sentenced to a one-year suspended jail sentence and barred from entering the capital, Niamey, for three months, for "inciting ethnic hatred".

"We are relieved that this journalist was released, of course. However, we do not understand why he is being prevented from staying in Niamey for three months. This decision makes no sense," said Reporters without borders Secretary-General Robert Ménard. The organisation called on the authorities to annul the decision and allow Souley to resume his work as soon as possible.

"L’Enquêteur"’s publication director was arrested on 13 September and incarcerated at Niamey’s central prison three days later. The paper’s founder, Soumana Maïga, was also arrested and detained for 48 hours.

The State Prosecutor’s Office filed a complaint following the publication of an article in issue 169 of "L’Enquêteur", in which the government was accused of contributing to the sudden wealth of local businessman Djibo Zakou. The weekly had reported that a group of investors from eastern Niger were angry that Zakou, who comes from the western part of the country, had received "juicy contracts."

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