Ailing editor taken to remote prison in Niger

New York, September 2, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the health of imprisoned editor Abdoulaye Tiémogo after his transfer from a hospital in Niger’s capital, Niamey, to a prison in a remote town on Monday. 

Tiémogo, editor of the weekly Le Canard Déchaîné, is suffering from malaria and is no longer receiving adequate medical attention in a prison in Ouallam, 55 miles (88 kilometers) to the north of Niamey, his wife, Zeïnabou Tiémogo, told CPJ. He contracted malaria while in detention at Niamey’s central prison, according to local journalists. He was then hospitalized at the city’s National Hospital on August 22–four days after a court sentenced him to three months in jail in connection with his coverage critical of the government, according to the Niger Association of Independent Press Editors. Tiémogo has appealed the sentence and is awaiting a ruling, according to defense lawyer Marc Le Bihan.

“We are deeply disturbed that the authorities have moved Abdoulaye Tiémogo against medical advice to a remote prison,” said Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “We hold them responsible for his well-being and demand that he receive adequate medical treatment immediately.”

A doctor from Niamey’s central prison, backed by guards, picked up Tiémogo from his hospital bed on Monday despite the hospital’s doctor’s determination that the journalist required more treatment, his wife, also a journalist, said.

The deliberate choice of the remote prison over a closer, more convenient one has isolated Tiémogo and put him at risk, said Abdourahamane Ousmane, president of the local Network of Journalists for Human Rights. 

Tiémogo was arrested on August 1, a few days before a controversial national referendum passed a constitutional amendment increasing presidential control of the press