UPDATE 24 August: Nigerien Civil society activist Marou Amadou remains in arbitrary detention. According to the BBC he has been beaten in custody. Several other opposition activists arrested for protesting the coup remain in custody. Police have attacked peaceful protests, most recently on 22 August in Niamey, at which several opposition leaders were arrested. Also on 22 August Wada Maman, Secretary General of the “Front Uni pour la Sauvegarde des Acquis Démocratiques” (FUSAD), Board Member and Secretary General of the “Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption” (ANLC), was detained by the military while waiting for a Niamey bus. He is being held without charge or representation.
Please demand the release of these activists.
A sample letter, addresses, and statements by Nigerien and international rights groups are below.
Further links to background material follows sample letter and statements.
PLEASE COPY, SIGN, AND EMAIL, PRINT OR FAX TO THE ADDRESSES BELOW. EMAILS ARE EASY BUT PAPER LETTERS AND FAXES MAKE A STRONGER IMPACT.
cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
24 August 2009
To the honorable representatives of the Republic of Niger,
We deplore the recent wave of arrests by the government of Niger and the use of force to disperse peaceful protests. We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, an end to political prosecutions, and a return to the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Nigerien authorities must respect dissent and their own constitution. The people of Niger have suffered too much since the struggle for democracy in 1991 to allow a handful of the powerful to return their nation to autocracy.
We support the rights of civil society and opposition groups to protest and assemble, and we support the general strike of the Nigerien labour confederations, the CDTN, CGSL-N, CNT, UGTN, UGSEIN, USPT, and the USTN.
We condemn the arrest of dissident journalists and the arbitrary closure of opposition press;
We condemn the arrests and use of force against peaceful protesters in on the day of the 4 August referendum, and in Niamey and elsewhere both before and after 4 August;
We condemn the use of force against those using peaceful civil disobedience on the day of the 4 August referendum in Illea and elsewhere on 4 August;
We condemn the arrests of opposition activists between 1 and 5 August, including:
*Zakari Oumarou, opposition leader, arrested and arbitrarily detained at Konni;
*Amadou Nomao, Deputy of the National Assembly, arrested and arbitrarily detained at Badaguichiri;
*Alhousseini Ousmane and Elhadj Idrissa Maïgoro, opposition members arrested at Tahoua;
*Dr. Douma, opposition member arrested at Ayorou;
We condemn the arrest between 4 and 11 August and arbitrary detention at Koutoukalé prison of opposition activist Monsieur Alassane Karfi;
We condemn the arbitrary detention by the Judiciary Police of President of the Front pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (FRD) Hamissou Moumouni;
We especially condemn the multiple arrests, unlawful detention at Koutoukalé prison and beating by FNIS (Ministry of Interior Paramilitary Police) of Marou Amadou, Vice Coordinator of the Collectif pour la Défense du Droit à l’énergie au Niger (CODDAE) and spokesperson of the FDD;
We condemn the unlawful detention at Koutoukalé prison beginning 22 August of Wada Maman, Secretary General of the “Front Uni pour la Sauvegarde des Acquis Démocratiques” (FUSAD), Board Member and Secretary General of the “Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption” (ANLC).
We condemn the prosecution of Abdoulaye Tiemogo, editor of a private satirical weekly, Le Canard Dechaine and the orchestrated campaign to silence those who question the financial dealings of those close to the President of Niger.
Rest assured that the people of the world stand by the people of Niger is their demands for democracy, rule of law, judicial Independence, and economic transparency. The truth will come out, and the people of Niger will judge not only the behavior of their government, but those who failed to act in the defense of law.
With the deepest respect for your great nation,
Signed (Your Name)
TO: Ambassador of the Republic of Niger to the United States, S.E.M Toure Aminata Djibrilla Maiga
Embassy of the Republic of Niger
2204 R Street, NW,
Washington DC 20008
Phone: (202) 483-4224
Fax: (202) 483-3169
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
TO: Ambassador of the Republic of Niger to Canada, S.E.M Nana Aicha FOUMAKOYE
Embassy of Niger in Ottawa, Canada
38 Blackburn Avenue
Ontario K1N 8A3
Phone: (+1) (613) 232-4291 / 2
Fax: (+1) (613) 230-9808
TO: President of the Republic of Niger, Tandja Mamadou
Office of the President
Fax: + 227 20 73 34 30
Secrétariat Directeur de Cabinet
Telephone: + 227 20-72-24-72
Directeur de Cabinet Adjoint
Telephone: + 227 20-72-36-67
TO: Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, Seini Oumarou;
Monsieur le Premier Ministre, Chef du Gouvernement ;
Fax : + 227 20 73 58 59
TO: M. Garba Lompo, Ministre de la Justice,
Fax : +227 20 72 37 77
TO: M. Albade Aboufa, Ministre de l’Intérieur,
Fax: + 227 20 72 21 76
TO: Mission permanente du Niger auprès de l’Union européenne,
Fax : + 32 2 648 27 84
TO: Ambassadeur M. Adani Illo, Mission permanente du Niger auprès des Nations unies à Genève,
Avenue du Lignon 36 (2ème étage), 1219 Le Lignon, Suisse.
Fax: +41 22 979 24 51.
=======Transparency International Statement========
Anti-corruption leader arrested in Niger as civil society faces increased intimidation
Berlin, 24 August 2009
Transparency International (TI) is seriously concerned about the arrest in Niger, of Wada Maman, Board Member and Secretary General of TI chapter, the Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption (ANLC)
=======Publish What You Pay statement===============
Action Alert: PWYP calls on the Nigerien government to end all forms of harassment against civil society leader Marou Amadou
Source: PWYP International – Action Alert
Date: 13 Aug 2009
PWYP strongly condemns the transfer into police custody of Marou Amadou, president of the United Front for the Safeguard of Democratic Assets (FUSAD), coordinator of the Advisory and Orientation Committee for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CROISADE), and member of the Réseau des Organisations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse Budgetaire (ROTAB) – Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Niger.
According to ROTAB/PWYP Niger, Marou Amadou was discharged on Tuesday, 12 August 2009 after appearing before the Court of First Instance in Niamey, where he had been summoned for “inciting disobedience of defense and security forces” and “regionalist propaganda”, following his arrest on 10 August 2009 by the Nigerien Judicial Police.
PWYP condemns Marou Amadou’s forced transfer into police custody just hours after a court had ordered his release.
PWYP therefore demands that the discharge decision be respected and calls for the immediate release of Marou Amadou.
PWYP urges the Nigerien authorities to guarantee Marou Amadou’s physical and moral integrity.
PWYP calls on President Mamadou Tandja to ensure an end to all forms of harassment and intimidation against Marou Amadou and civil society activists in Niger, and to guarantee freedom of speech and of the press in accordance with the international human rights standards Niger has committed itself to.
PWYP asks that you write to the Nigerien authorities, Nigerien diplomatic representatives and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your respective countries to draw their attention to your concerns and forward them this statement
=======Frontline Defenders Statement=======
Niger: Detention of human rights defender Mr Marou Amadou
(Sample letter included)
*Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture
Relaxe et disparition forcée de M. Marou Amadou Niger 11 août 2009
*News Reports on the arrest of Marou Amadou
** BBC NEWS | Africa | Niger opposition figure ‘beaten’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8197439.stm
* Transparency International Statement (22 August)
* Collectif pour la Défense du Droit à l’énergie au Niger (CODDAE) statement (Francais)
* Opposition decalration 11 August http://pnds-tarayya.net/news/news.php?id=41
DÉCLARATION DU 11 AOÛT 2009 La Coordination des Forces pour la Démocratie et la République (CFDR) (Francais)
* Opposition decalaration on 4 August arrests
*NIGER-En réaction à l’arrestation du président du Fusad, Amnesty international exige la libération de Amadou Arou
le Quotidien (Senegal) 19 August.
* Areva/Niger: organisation exposing links between the French Uranium consortia and the government of Niger (Francais) http://areva.niger.free.fr/
*Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2009 – Niger
*Nigerien Labor Confederations joint 72 hour strike, 23 August
*Nigerien news articles (Francais)
*Niger: Les manifestants de l’opposition dispersés par les forces de l’ordre, 22 August. (Francais)
*Niger: La matraque du colonel, 23 August. (Francais)
*Updates in English: