The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned by the continued imprisonment of Ibrahim Souley, the publication director of the private weekly L’Enquêteur. Souley is expected to face trial tomorrow on charges of spreading propaganda and “inciting ethnic hatred.”
The charges stem from an article published earlier this month in L’Enquêteur alleging that businessmen from eastern Niger had complained that the government was awarding too many contracts to a businessman from the west. On September 13, police officers arrested Souley, along with Soumana Maïga, the newspaper’s founder, in the capital, Niamey.
Maïga was released after several hours, during which he was questioned about his work at the newspaper, the journalist told CPJ. However, Souley was held for 48 hours at police headquarters before being transferred to Niamey’s Central Prison.
A lawyer working for Souley’s defense told CPJ that the journalist could face a maximum of five years in prison.
As an independent organization of journalists dedicated to defending our colleagues worldwide, CPJ condemns the incarceration of Ibrahim Souley and calls for his immediate release. Journalists should never be imprisoned for their work. We call on Your Excellency to ensure that Niger journalists can practice their profession freely, without fear of criminal punishment.
We thank you for your attention to these urgent matters.