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Lawyers for Niger's ousted president ask regional court to reinstate him

Lawyers for Niger's ousted president ask regional court to reinstate him
FILE - Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum smiles before a working lunch with French President...   -  
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Niger's former President Mohamed Bazoum's legal team has urged a West African regional court to reinstate him, alleging that his detention and removal from power violated his political rights.

Soldiers ousted Bazoum on July 26, citing his inability to address growing insecurity in the region. This event marked one of eight similar power shifts in West and Central Africa over the past three years.

Bazoum's lawyers presented their case to the Community Court of Justice, a body established to address matters within the ECOWAS regional bloc. It's important to note that member states are not bound by the court's decisions, and there is no mechanism to enforce its rulings.

Seydou Diagne, a member of Bazoum's legal team, argued that the removal of Bazoum's government constituted a violation of his political rights. Diagne, speaking from Dakar, Senegal, via video link, called for Bazoum's unconditional release and his reinstatement as president. The legal team also contended that the detention of Bazoum, along with his wife and son, infringed upon their human rights.

In response, Aissatou Zada, a lawyer representing the Niger junta, asserted that Bazoum, his wife, and son were not arbitrarily detained or held against their will. Zada argued that they had the freedom to move about, with Bazoum being held at home for security reasons.

Notably, Bazoum's legal team claimed they had been unable to communicate with him since October 20, following allegations by the junta that the former president had attempted to escape with the help of accomplices. The court is expected to make a decision on this case on November 30.

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