Police authorities in Niamey on Saturday, May 18, 2002 arrested Abarad Mouddour Zakara, Managing Editor, and Sanoussi Tambari Jackcou, publisher, of the weekly La Roue de l’Histoire newspaper.
The Minister of Commerce, Seyni Omar, had complained to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) that he had been libelled by the newspaper. The La Roue de l’Histoire had reported that Mr. Omar hosted the meeting at which the assassination of former Head of State, General Ibrahim Bare Manassara, was planned. Manassara was assassinated in 1999.
While Sanoussi was still in detention, the Attorney General, at the instance of the Prime Minister Hama Amadou, accused the detained Sanoussi Tambari Jackcou, together with Abdoulaye Tiemogo of radio TAMBARA FM, of making “unethical remarks that could disturb public order.”
The alleged remarks, made on an earlier live debate programme on TAMBARA FM, were to the effect that some competent public servants had been denied promotion on ethnic grounds. On Monday, May 20, the Attorney General extended by 48 hours the “preventive detention” of the three media practitioners, pending their appearance in court.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is appalled by these high-handed attempts at sabotaging media scrutiny and investigations into the cold-blooded murder of General Manassara. The arrest also threatens media freedom and freedom of expression in Niger. The MFWA urges the government to effect the immediate release of the three detained media practitioners. The MFWA also requests you to kindly protest the detention of the journalists in question.