• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Niger: Bazoum appeals to ECOWAS court for release

Niger junta says ousted President Mohamed Bazoum tried to escape

Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, has appealed to the West African bloc’s court to free him, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Bazoum was overthrown in a coup on July 26 and has since been detained at home with his wife and child. He filed a lawsuit with the court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on September 18, alleging “arbitrary arrest” and “violation of freedom of movement,” his Senegalese lawyer Seydou Diagne said.

The lawsuit requests that “the State of Niger be ordered to immediately restore constitutional order by handing over power to President Bazoum, who must continue to exercise it until the end of his mandate,” Diagne said.

ECOWAS has slapped hefty sanctions on Niger and warned that it could intervene militarily if diplomatic efforts to return Bazoum to power fail.

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Niger’s coup leaders have declared their intention to “prosecute” Bazoum for “high treason and undermining internal and external security.”

On Wednesday, the European Union reiterated its support for ECOWAS’s position and made a fresh call “for the immediate and unconditional release” of Bazoum and his family.

“The EU position is clear and unchanged: the EU does not recognise authorities emanating from the putsch. President Bazoum remains the sole legitimate president of Niger,” EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.

The remarks came a day after the EU ambassador to Niamey, Salvador Pinto da Franca, was summoned by Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine.