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Civil society activist held for criticising President Tandja

(MFWA/IFEX) - Marou Amadou, president of Front Uni pour la Sauvegarde des Acquis Démocratiques (FUSAD), a Nigerien civil society coalition, is currently in the custody of state security in Niamey over his criticisms of the illegal extension of President Mamadou Tandja's term of office.

MFWA's correspondent reported that Amadou was arrested on the morning of 10 August 2009 charged with "undermining the security of the state" and remanded in Niamey Civil Prison. The arrest followed a 9 August FUSAD release asking the people of Niger not to relent on their efforts but to continue resisting the violation of the country's 1999 Constitution.

On 11 August, Amadou was tried summarily and exonerated by the Magistrate court after an intense protest by his angry supporters who besieged the court premises. Following his acquittal, members of the Republican Guards re-arrested and detained him at an undisclosed location. Amadou was charged on 12 August with another absurd charge of "illegally operating" FUSAD without a permit. The state security has also ignored an advice by ailing Amadou's physician that his patient needs rest.

MFWA once again condemns the high-handedness of President Tandja's government. Since President Tandja openly declared his intention to extend his stay in power, journalists and human rights advocates have suffered serious arrests and suspensions.

MFWA demands Amadou's immediate and unconditional release. It is appealing to civil society organisations to protest the deteriorating political situation in Niger.

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