Niger ALERT: Editor in prison

A Magistrate Courtin Niamey remanded in prison Ibrahim Manzo, Managing editor of the weekly L’Autre Observateur newspaper for allegedly defaming Moussa Dan Foulani, a businessman and a personal friend of Niger President Mamadou Tandja Mamadou.

The newspaper in an article in its December 5, 2005 issue, reported on the trial of an alleged armed robber charged with robbery at gunpoint and who allegedly claimed at the trial that Dan Foulani sold to him the arms he used in the attempted robbery. The newspaper report angered Dan Foulani who lodged a complaint with the police. The source said following the complaint, the editor was on February 6, arrested upon a summons from the State Prosecutor and immediately placed in police custody.

Manzo appeared before the judge without his attorney who decided not to take up the case because conditions were not favourable for him to put up a proper defence. The State Prosecutor, according to the source prayed the Court to sentence Manzo to a two-month prison term and in addition pay a fine of 50,000 CFA Francs (approximately US $92).Meanwhile Press freedom advocates in Niger have expressed concern about Manzo’s detention and the rushed manner of the trial.

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