Amnesty International (read below)asks for the immediate release of Omar Keita (pictured here during a tobacco control workshop) as does the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists. Since we work on line we think it is easier to ask YOU to email your protest and request for an immediate release. We suggest the following addresses:
Email a copy to Amnesty International
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of two journalists in Niger, who were sentenced to
18 months' imprisonment on 1 September 2006 for spreading false news and defaming the state. Amnesty
International considers journalist Oumarou Keita and publisher Mamane Abou from the weekly newspaper
Le Republicain to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of
They have lodged an appeal, which will be examined on 11 September. Mamane Abou and Oumarou Keita were arrested on 4 August, after Le Republicain published an article accusing Prime Minister Hama Amadou of "wooing the Iranians" to the extent of being prepared to close down Western embassies.
The newspaper had recently published a series of articles alleging government corruption involving donor funds. President Mamadou Tandja subsequently sacked two cabinet ministers over the allegations of corruption.
Mamane Abou is held at a detention centre at Tera, about 160km west of the capital, Niamey, while Oumarou Keita has been sent to Filingue, more than 180km north of Niamey. His family, lawyers and friends are based in the capital, making it difficult for them to visit him. The Niger authorities have repeatedly targeted and arrested journalists who have denounced cases of government mismanagement or other political issues.
Some of them have been sentenced to prison terms. Mamane Abou has been arrested several times in the past as a result of articles published in his newspaper. In November 2004, he was sentenced to six months for libelling Prime Minister Hama Amadou and the finance minister.