Three journalists and a union leader released in Niger

NIAMEY Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:52pm EST

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NIAMEY (Reuters) - Authorities in Niger released on Thursday three journalists from a private radio station one day after they were detained with a union leader who criticized President Mahamadou Issfouou on air, the station's director-general told Reuters.

Police on Wednesday arrested the Anfani radio station's editor in chief Abdoul-Razak Idrissa, and two journalists, Haoua Maigari and Moussa Hassane as well as union leader Ismael Salifou.

Salifou was accused of making insulting remarks about the president and inciting ethnic hatred during the interview broadcast on January 22. The journalists were held as accomplices, police sources said.

"The three journalists employed by my radio station were released. They were brought before the prosecutor of the Niamey correctional tribunal this afternoon and he decided there was no case to answer," said Grema Boukar, director general of Anfani. Salifou was also released, he said.

Political tensions have risen in Niger since August, after a reshaping of Issoufou's ruling coalition that saw National Assembly leader Hama Amadou enter the opposition.

Since late January, six journalists, two politicians and a member of civil society have been briefly detained on charges including slander, inciting ethnic hatred and plotting against state security. They have all subsequently been released.

"Niger is witnessing a decline in freedom of the press. We will fight until our comrade Ismael Salifou is freed," Salou Yacouba, spokesman for the national association of education workers, told journalists.

Niger decriminalised slander in June 2010.

(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Daniel Flynn and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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Comments (2)
riposte wrote:
so much for freedom of the press…could you imagine, how many reporters would be left to report in the USA, if they were arrested every time, they disagreed with the govt….we would have to buy an island at least 500 miles wide, to house their imprisonment…

Feb 13, 2014 5:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
riposte wrote:
reporters should not be jailed, for reporting what they see as the truth….glad they are free

Feb 13, 2014 6:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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