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Allies of Niger opposition leader sentenced to 12 months in prison

Allies of Niger opposition leader sentenced to 12 months in prison


Seven opposition members and allies of former speaker of parliament and presidential candidate in the March election, Hama Amadou, were sentenced on Tuesday to twelve months in prison.

Their lawyer who announced the court’s decision said they were sentenced for gathering an armed mob.

“The decision (of the court) has been made: they were found guilty and were sentenced to twelve months in prison, ten months in jail and two months suspended,” the lawyer, Barry Bibata Niandou said.

The trial was held on June 24 after the rejection of an application by the Court of Appeal for their conditional release, a legal source told AFP.

The defendants, including former Health Minister and president of Moden in Niamey, Soumana Sanda, have been in jail for eight months now.

“It’s been eight months since they were held, so by August 14 they will be released from prison,” Bibata Niandou said denouncing the trial calling it political.

They were arrested November 14, 2015 in Niamey with Hama Amadou who was exiled in France after he was implicated in an alleged baby trafficking case.

Violent clashes erupted when security forces blocked the road to the airport where activists of the Nigerien Democratic Movement (Moden), Amadou’s party, tried to welcome their leader.

On his return on November 14, he was arrested upon deplaning and detained north of Niamey.

Hama Amadou contested the incumbent in the presidential election while he was in jail. Four days before the second round of votes on March 20, Amadou was evacuated to France for emergency treatment. He has still not returned to the country.

The opposition boycotted the elections won by President Issoufou with 92.51% of votes calling it an electoral farce. The government in power however accused the opposition of boycotting the election to avoid defeat.