Zakari Alzouma, editor of Opinions, a Niamey-based independent weekly newspaper who was charged with defamation by the Minister of Public security, Albade Abouba, appeared before the High Court on November 3, 2008 but was refused bail.
Media Foundation for west Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the prosecutor asked the court to adjourn the case to November 12, 2008 to enable prosecution prepare for the case. The journalist’s counsel thus applied for bail but the court rejected the application.
In an article published in the October 28, 2008 edition of the Opinions, Alzouma alleged that the Minister of Public Security took advantage of the Prime Minister’s absence to cancel a contract awarded to Sahel Airline Transport Company to airlift 9000 hajj pilgrims from Niamey to Mecca. The contract, according to the article, was subsequently awarded without proper tendering to Kevin, an American airline operator whose aircraft is said to be thirty-six years old and banned from flying in American skies.