Niger - Authorities urged to abandon "absurd war" against Moussa Kaka after court blocks provisional release



    MONTREAL, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by
the obstinacy with which Niger's authorities are keeping journalist Moussa
Kaka in prison, despite a judge's decision to dismiss the case against him. At
the request of the prosecutor's office, a Niamey appeal court today overturned
a ruling issued by an investigating judge in June for Kaka's provisional
release.
    "It is now clear that every possible subterfuge and procedural manoeuvre
will be used to keep Kaka in prison even though the investigating judge
decided there are no grounds for prosecuting him," Reporters Without Borders
said. "This persistence has reached unbelievable proportions and is indicative
of the personal war that President Mamadou Tandja is waging against this
journalist."
    The press freedom organisation added: "We nonetheless think that Niger's
judicial system has taken a clear position and that our correspondent has no
business being in Niamey prison. Respect for judicial independence should
force the authorities to put a stop to this absurd war against one man."
    In today's decision, a Niamey appeal court ruled in favour of the public
prosecutor's appeal against Kaka's provisional release, which the
investigating judge in charge of the case approved on 23 June subject to Kaka
undertaking to remain available for questioning and to report any travel plans
or change of address.
    Kaka was not freed because the public prosecutor immediately filed an
appeal, which had the effect of postponing his release pending the outcome of
the appeal procedure. The public prosecutor also immediately appealed against
a decision by the investigating judge one month later, on 23 July, to drop all
the charges against Kaka.
    The director of privately-owned Radio Saraounia and Niger correspondent
of Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, Kaka was
arrested in Niamey on 20 September 2007 on a charge "complicity in a
conspiracy against state authority."
    The public prosecutor claimed that his phone calls with one of the
leaders of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ), a Tuareg rebel group based in
the north of the country, were evidence that he was "conniving" with the
rebels. The charge carries a possible life sentence.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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