Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Niger
|Publisher||International Federation for Human Rights|
|Publication Date||14 March 2007|
|Cite as||International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Niger, 14 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48747cd4ce.html [accessed 30 October 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Mr. Mohamadou Arzika's aggressor provisionally released71
In January 2006, Mr. Dan Foulani, a businessman close to the government who attempted to murder Mr. Nouhou Mahamadou Arzika, president of the National Organisation for Consumers' Defence (Organisation nationale de défense des consommateurs) and head of the Niger Equity-Quality Coalition Against High Costs of Living (Coalition Qualité-Equité contre la vie chère au Niger), was provisionally released on the order of the Prosecutor.
Mr. Arzika and the Niger Association for Human Rights (Association nigérienne des droits de l'Homme – ANDDH) immediately appealed against this decision. As of the end of 2006, the appeal remained pending.
On October 26, 2005, Mr. Foulani had burst into Mr. Arzika's office brandishing a gun and attempted to shoot him without success as his gun jammed. He had then ordered two henchmen accompanying him and armed with bludgeons to kill Mr. Arzika, who eventually managed to escape thanks to a colleague's intervention, as one of the aggressors attempted to strangle him. Mr. Arzika immediately filed a complaint for attempted murder with the Niamey police station.
Although the police enquiry was closed on October 28, 2005, the investigation report was only transmitted to the court on November 11, 2006. Mr. Dan Foulani also filed a complaint for "insults and defamation" (arguing that these offences had stirred up his anger and violence) on the very same day.
Mr. Dan Foulani was summoned by the examining magistrate on December 21, 2005, and placed in detention at the Kollo prison right after the hearing.
On December 22 and 23, 2005, Mr. Arzika was also called in by the examining magistrate to be heard in relation to Mr. Dan Foulani's complaint and his own. Although the evidence was insufficient, he was accused of "complicity in defamation and insults" and provisionally released. Mr. Arzika appealed against the judge's order.
As of the end of 2006, the two cases were still pending.
Reopening of CROISADE headquarters72
On May 11, 2006, the Independent Thought and Orientation Committee for the Safeguard of Democratic Achievements (Comité de réflexion et d'orientation indépendant pour la sauvegarde des acquis démocratiques – CROISADE) was finally able to open new offices in Niamey.
On May 10, 2005, CROISADE headquarters, which also sheltered the Platform of Organisations for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy (Collectif des organisations de défense des droits de l'Homme et de la démocratie – CODDHD) and the Equity-Quality Coalition, were closed down as the association was unable to pay the rent that was suddenly increased by 120%. On that day, the owner of the premises required the CROISADE president and staff to vacate the premises in order to close it down.
End of judicial proceedings against two Timidria leaders73
On June 5, 2006, the 4th Chamber of the Niamey Court of First Instance ruled that there was no grounds for the prosecution of Mr. Ilguilas Weila, president of the national executive committee of Timidria, an association fighting against slavery in Niger, and Mr. Alassane Bigga, deputy secretary general of the Timidria regional section in Tillabery. All charges pending against them were subsequently dropped.
Messrs. Weila and Alassane Bigga had been arrested on April 28, 2005 before being transferred to the Niamey civil prison on May 4, 2005. They were both indicted with "attempted fraud of foreign donors" and were provisionally released by the Niamey Regional Court on June 18, 2005.
Messrs. Weila and Alassane Bigga were arrested on the request of the leader of the Tahabanatt nomadic group, after Timidria had staged a ceremony for the "social and economic reinsertion of 7,000 slaves", an event sponsored by Anti-Slavery International.
Obstacles to the Nigerian Social Forum74
On October 20, 2006, the Minister for Home Affairs Mr. Mounkaïla Mody addressed an official notice to the organisers of the Nigerian Social Forum (Forum social nigérien – FSN) notifying the prohibition of this event, which was initially scheduled to be held from October 27 to 30, 2006. Mr. Mody specifically argued that "the government will not accept a trial of its policies on its own soil, especially by foreigners".
The Forum was eventually authorised by the government following intense negotiations between the authorities and the FSN coordinating committee and held in Niamey from November 3 to 6, 2006.
Arbitrary arrest and expulsion of Mr. Claude Quémar75
On November 9, 2006, Mr. Claude Quémar, secretary general of the French section of the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (Comité pour l'annulation de la dette du tiers-monde – CATDM), was arrested in Tahoua on the order of the general administration of the Niamey police. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Quémar was participating in a conference on HIV/AIDS held in the framework of the Caravan for Social Alternatives76.
During the FSN, Mr. Quémar had conducted several workshops, in particular a seminar on "the globalisation of solidarity, struggles and resistance against neo-liberalism", as well as a conference entitled "An odious debt ? Which prospects beyond the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the cancellation of the debt of 18 poor countries?".
Mr. Quémar was transferred to Niamey and placed in custody in the capital's central police station a few hours after his arrest in Tahoua. The police did not explain the reasons for his detention but questioned him about some of the statements he had made during the FSN, asking him if he acknowledged his comments.
Mr. Quémar was later transferred to the headquarters of the criminal investigation police and ordered to leave the territory. He was released later that evening.
In the afternoon of the next day, he was again detained by the criminal investigation police department for several hours before being taken to Niamey airport and expelled back to France.
[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]
70. See Annual Report 2005.
74. See Urgent Appeal NER 001/1106/OBS 133.
76. The Caravan for Social Alternatives, which aims at disseminating information and promote debates about international development policies, took place from November 7 to 14, 2006 in a dozen of towns throughout the country.