Lawyers Ask ECOWAS To Demand Release Of Ousted Niger Leader

Since then, ousted President Bazoum has remained locked up with his wife in the presidential palace in Niger's capital Niamey.

Photo of Niger Republic ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum.


The lawyers of imprisoned Niger President Mohamed Bazoum called on West African bloc ECOWAS Friday to demand his release, on the eve of the union’s summit.

Niger has been ruled by military leaders since they ousted Bazoum in a coup last July.

Since then, he has remained locked up with his wife in the presidential palace in Niger’s capital Niamey.

In December, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordered the release of Bazoum as well as his return to power.

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“It is the responsibility of ECOWAS and its member states to ensure that the court’s decisions are effectively applied and that President Bazoum and his wife are released,” Mohamed Seydou Diagne, coordinator of the group of lawyers, said in a statement to AFP.

“The court ordered the military authorities to release them immediately and to restore to power President Bazoum, whose mandate had been democratically entrusted to him,” the statement said.

According to the lawyers, Bazoum has not been brought before a judge and has not received any visitors — except his doctor — since October 19.

In early January, Bazoum’s son, Salem, was released from prison and immediately transferred to Togo — where he is currently.

Salem is still accused of “plotting to jeopardise the authority or the security of the state.”

On February 13, the leader of Niger’s military, Abdourahamane Tiani, said in a national television interview that the release of Bazoum was “not on the agenda”.

Leaders at the ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on Saturday will examine the political and security situation in the region.

The coup last July prompted ECOWAS to impose tough sanctions and suspend trade with Niger.