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Three journalists interrogated following airing of story on kidnapped civilian

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 16 February 2008, Raliou Ahmed Assaleh, director of Radio Sahara, an independent radio station based in Agadez, a northern town 1000km from Niamey, and two other journalists, Moussa Inne and Ben Issoufou Mohammed were subjected to hours of interrogation by the Agadez Gendarmerie over a story the station had aired two days earlier.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the interrogation which lasted about three hours was intended to force the journalists to disclose the source of a story the station broadcast on 14 February during the midday news, about a civilian who had been kidnapped by unidentified men in Agadez.

The interrogation followed an earlier attempt by security personnel and family members of the victim to intimidate Assaleh for him to reveal the source. The security men, comprising a police officer and a military man in the company of two members of the victim's family stormed the director's house at about 3:00 p.m. (local time) the same day the news was broadcast.

Following the director's refusal to reveal his source, the family filed a complaint to the Gendarmerie. The journalists were summoned and the gendarmerie has since restricted Assaleh's use of telephone, and also seized his two cellular phones.

MFWA sources have hinted that even though no charges have been filed against the journalists, it is likely they would soon be arraigned before the Agadez Tribunal.

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