03/26/2020

Urgent Action: Activists Arrested for Organizing Protests (Niger: UA 36.20)


Seven activists were arrested between 15 and 17 March in Niamey, Niger, after organizing a protest on 15 March. They were charged with organizing an unauthorized gathering and complicity in damaging public property, arson, and manslaughter. Moussa Tchangari, Halidou Mounkaila, Habibou Soumaila, Moundi Moussa and Maikoul Zodi have been detained since 19 March. Karim Tanko and Seyni Djibo were released on bail on 19 March.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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President of the Republic of Niger
M. Issoufou Mahamadou
Palais Présidentiel, Boulevard de la République
Niamey, Niger
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Hassana Alidou
Embassy of the Republic of Niger
2204 R St. NW Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 483 4224 I Fax: 202 483 3169
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @HassanaAlidou
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Excellency,

I am writing to express my concern that seven activists and journalists have been charged with complicity in damaging public property, arson and manslaughter, following a protest that they organized in Niamey, Niger, on 15 March demanding an investigation into the misuse of funds by the Ministry of Defense.

Moussa Tchangari, secretary general of Alternative Espace Citoyens (AEC), Maikoul Zodi, National Coordinator of Tournons la Page (TLP), Halidou Mounkaila of the teachers’ union (SYNACEB), Habibou Soumaila, regional TLP Communications and Information Secretary, and Moundi Moussa, a journalist, trade unionist and member of TLP, have been detained since 19 March in separate prisons in Niger. Karim Tanko, Financial Secretary of TLP, and Seyni Djibo, member of TLP, were released on bail but still face charges.

At least three individuals died when the demonstration was broken up by security forces using tear gas. Several shops were set on fire near Tagabati market. Amnesty International believes that the charges against the activists have been fabricated to undermine their peaceful struggle for accountability. According to many sources, the fire and the deaths were caused by the firing of tear gas canisters by security forces onto a roof of the market.

I am deeply concerned that these activists are detained in separate prisons, some of which are located more than 100 km from their relatives and lawyers and in areas classified as “state of emergency areas” due to terrorism.

I urge you to ensure that they have prompt, regular and unrestricted access to their family and a lawyer of their choice; If contact visits are restricted due to COVID-19 prevention measures, they must be replaced with other means of contact, for example, by phone, emails or video calls; put an end to harassment against members of civil society; and carry out an independent and impartial investigation into the deaths during the demonstration on 15 March.

Yours sincerely,

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