Critical voices arrested and protests prohibited in Niger


On 20th May 2017, Ali Idrissa, a coordinator for Publish What You Pay and of Réseau des Organisations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse Budgétaire (Network of Organisations for Transparency and Budgetary Analysis , was detained on grounds of inciting a conspiracy to change the regime. This came after a statement Idrissa made about President Mahamadou Issoufou "putting democracy between brackets" and stating that "we will use all means to restore democracy in our country", after the authorities banned a protest planned by a coalition of civil society organisations on 20th May 2017 (described in the section on Peaceful Assembly). He was released the same day. Idrissa has also been vocal about the ‘uraniumgate’ scandal in which the current Minister of Finance, Hassoumi Massaoudou, has been implicated. 

In an interview with Jeune Afrique, the activist commented on the regime's response to critical voices, stating: 

"Its not me who has created the revolt in Niger, the acts of injustice have".

On 14th May 2017, Abdourahmane Insar, activist and coordinator of the Cadre d’Action pour la Démocratie et les Droits de l’Homme (Framework for Action for Democracy and Human Rights), was arrested on charges of inciting violence in Agadez, central Niger, for comments he made on his Facebook page on 11th May criticising the ban on a civil society protest (described in the section on Peaceful Assembly). On 8th June 2017, he was convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence. 

Meanwhile, Amadou Djibo, member of the opposition party - Front pour la restauration de la démocratie et la défense de la République (Front for the Restoration of Democracy and the Protection of the Republic) - was arrested on 18th May 2017 and given a three-month suspended prison sentence on 6th June on charges of incing a conspiracy to overthrow the regime of President Mahamadou Issoufou. 

Peaceful Assembly

The authorities banned an anti-corruption protest planned for 10th May 2017 by a coalition of civil society organisations in Niamey. Those who still assembled to defy the ban were met with a heavy police presence and quickly dispersed. The authorities then prohibited a second attempt to organise the protest on 20th May. As mentioned in the section on Association, two civil society activists, Abdourahmane Insar and Ali Idrissa, were detained for making critical comments on the government's protest ban in these two incidents.