HRDs given three-month suspended prison sentences


On 24th July, the Niamey High Court sentenced CSO leaders and human right defenders Ali Idrissa Nana of Rotab (Réseau des organisations pour la transparence et l'analyse budgétaire - Network for Transparency and Budgetary Analysis), Nouhou Arzika of Mouvement pour la promotion de la citoyenneté responsable (Movement for the Promotion of Responsible Citizenship), Moussa Tchangari of Alternative espace citoyen (Alternative Citizen Space) and Lirwana Abdourahamane, to a suspended prison sentence of three months for "provocation of an unarmed gathering through posters and writings". All were released the same evening, except Abdourahamane, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison, of which 12 month suspended, on the additional charge of "contempt of court through speech". The additional charge relates to Abdourahamane's accusations during the 10th July hearing that judges had received money to keep the HRDs in prison. The four have been in detention since their arrest on 25th March 2018. 

A total of 24 people arrested on 25th March in relation to the protests against the 2018 Budget Law stood trial from 20th July on charges of "complicity in the destruction of property, in violence and aggression" and "organisation and participation in a banned protest". The public prosecutor demanded a three-year prison sentence and a fine of 100,000 francs CFA (178 USD) against Ali Idrissa Nana, Nouhou Arzika and Moussa Tchangari, and a one-year sentence and the same fine for Lirwana Abdourahamane. 

Civil society activists and human rights defenders Ibrahim Diori of Alternative Espace Citoyens and Maikoul Zodi, national coordinator of Tournons la Page in Niger, are still to stand trial. They were arrested on 15th April 2018 in relation to the protests against the 2018 Budget Law.