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Newspaper editor released on bail, charged with "divulging military secrets"

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 1 August 2008, Moussa Aksar, managing editor of "L'Evènement", a Niamey-based independent weekly newspaper, was released on bail by the prosecutor of the Niamey Magistrate court, after being charged with "divulging military secrets".

Aksar was arrested on 30 July by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and held incommunicado in accordance with the country's law, which permits citizens to be held incommunicado for a period not exceeding 24 hours.

No explanation was provided at the time of his arrest.

MFWA's correspondent in Niger reported that the charge followed an article by Aksar published in the 29 July edition of "L'Evènement" which implicated Abdoulaye Mounkaila, an officer in the Niger army.

The article headlined, "A cache of arms in Niamey: Officer Abdoulaye Mounkaila Implicated", suggested that the officer owned a large quantity of arms recently found by police in an area near the Niamey International Airport.

MFWA has learned that the Gendarmerie has begun investigating the matter and the journalist should be summoned to appear in court soon.

Updates the Aksar case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95851