UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk raised concerns Aug. 18 about the Nigerien military junta’s decision to prosecute deposed president Mohamed Bazoum and others working with him for high treason. Türk called on the generals who seized power in July to immediately restore constitutional rule. “Now the very people who they elected to build a pathway to end their destitution have been removed by force against the constitutional order and detained by the coup leaders. They must be released at once, and democracy restored. This decision is not only politically motivated against a democratically elected President but has no legal basis as the normal functioning of democratic institutions [has] been cast aside,” Türk said.
According to a statement read out on Aug. 13 by junta representative Col-Maj Amadou Abdramane, Bazoum is to face trial for “high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.” Abdramane alleged that Bazoum’s communication with foreign governments compromised Niger’s security.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the treason charges against Bazoum, stating that the move “contradicts the reported willingness of the military authorities in the Republic of Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means.” ECOWAS last week approved military intervention to restore Niger’s constitutional order.
From Jurist, Aug. 18. Use with permission.
Photo of junta leaders: Levée d’Afrique via Africa Arguments