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Appeals court to deliberate on admissibility of telephone wiretap evidence in case of journalist Moussa Kaka

(RSF/IFEX) - The court of criminal appeal in Niamey will deliberate until 12 February 2008 before deciding on the admissibility of telephone wiretap evidence used to accuse Moussa Kaka, a Radio France International (RFI) correspondent, of "complicity in undermining state authority", the RSF delegation in Niger has learned.

During a hearing before the court of criminal appeal, the journalist's lawyers emphasised that the telephone wiretaps were conducted in a "secret, clandestine and anonymous" manner and that, therefore, they did not enter into any legal framework, according to the same source, present at the court.

French lawyer William Bourdon explained that, in Niger as in France, "wiretaps were banned" in such a situation. He pleaded with the judges to consider the fact that their decision "went beyond the person of Moussa Kaka and was part of building the Niger of tomorrow." He added that he understood that "judges give themselves the time to reflect" and that he was "confident in their decision."

An RSF delegation, led by its secretary-general, Robert Ménard, accompanied by the brothers of two French reporters imprisoned since 17 December 2007, Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson, arrived on 15 January 2008 in Niamey. The delegation is to visit the jailed journalists as well as their driver, Al-Hassane Adbourahman, and meet with the authorities to try to obtain their quick release (see IFEX alert of 17 December 2007). It will also visit Moussa Kaka, incarcerated at Niamey's civil prison since the end of September 2007 for his alleged involvement with the Tuareg rebel group, the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ). The delegation will plead the RFI correspondent's case to the authorities and the courts, as well as that of Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, publication director of the weekly "Aïr Info", detained in Agadez since the end of October on the same grounds (see IFEX alerts of 31, 26 and 10 October 2007).

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