- A court in Niger has rejected what it called "illegally-obtained evidence" against Radio France International correspondent, Moussa Kaka.
Kaka, also a Director of privately-owned Radio Sarouniya, was arrested by Nigerien police on 20 September.
He was charged with "involvement in a plot against the state authority" for his suspected links with the Agadez-based rebels, Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ).Nigerien authorities had tapped Kaka's telephone communications with MNJ members.
But the magistrate presiding over the case dealt a blow to the prosecution after he had rejected the tapes of Kaka's conversations with the rebels to be tendered as evidence in the court, describing it as "illegally obtained."
"This was the only evidence the prosecution had in its case," the Director of the International Federation of Journalists Africa Office, Gabriel Gbaglo, wrote in a letter to the Nigerien President, Muhamed Tandja. Gbaglo saw no justification for Moussa to be charged or detained in the absence of any further evidence against him.
"We are very worried about the continued detention of our colleagues and the serious charges they face stemming from their professional work," he said.
The editor of 'Air Info', Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, has also been detained since his arrest by police on 9 October. He was charged with "criminal association" he allegedly with the MNJ.
The IFJ called on President Tandja to immediately drop the "baseless charges" against the two journalists.
Niger and The Gambia are seen as greatest bulldozers of human rights, in particular the right to freedom of speech and expression, in West Africa. The two countries have been petitioned to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights extra-ordinary session in Congo Brazzaville over their eroding human rights.
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