Niger ALERT: Newspaper editor in detention for defamation

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zakari Alzouma, editor of Opinions, a Niamey-based independent weekly newspaper, is being held by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Niger police following his arrest on October 29, 2008.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported the editor is expected to appear before a High Court on November 3, to answer defamation charges brought against him by the Minister of Public Security, Albadé Abouba.

The correspondent said the editor  had alleged in an article, published in the issue number 66 of the October 28 edition of the Opinions, that the minister had taken advantage of the absence from the country of the  Prime Minister to cancel a contract awarded to Sahel Airline Transport Company to airlift 9000 hajj pilgrims from Niamey to Mecca.

The article headlined: “Albadé Kevin and the Hajj 2008" alleged that the minister subsequently awarded the contract to one Kevin, an American Airline operator, without proper tendering.

The newspaper further alleged that the Kevin Aircraft was thirty-six years old and had been banned from flying in American skies.

Media Foundation for West Africa