Deposed Nigerien President Petitions West African Regional Court To Order His Release, Reinstatement

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The Nigerien president detained since July by the soldiers who deposed him has petitioned a regional court demanding his release and reinstatement, according to court documents seen by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

President Mohamed Bazoum, in an application filed this week, requested an order stating that his detention by Niger’s junta infringes on his fundamental rights and that he should be reinstated as the country’s democratically elected president. The application was filed by his lawyer in the West African regional bloc of ECOWAS court in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.

Joined as defendants in the application are Bazoum's wife and son, both of whom are also detained by the soldiers who took over power in Niger in July, adding the country to a growing list of African countries where military regimes have replaced elected governments amid a resurgence of coups in the continent.

“The first thing we are aiming for with this complaint is to obtain a finding of human rights violations, in particular, the arbitrary arrest and detention of President Bazoum and members of his family, as well as the infringement of his freedom of movement,” Mohamed Seydou Diagne, Bazoum’s lawyer, told the AP.

The court application described Bazoum as a “victim” of the coup and asked the ECOWAS court to issue a ruling “restoring constitutional order” in Niger and reinstating him as president “until the legal end (of) the democratic mandate that the people of Niger has sovereignly entrusted” him.

Bazoum’s request to the court comes as the military leaders continue to strengthen their grip on power. They have appointed several government officials, including a prime minister, and set in motion a transitional process which they have said would last for three years to the disagreement of regional leaders.


Ahmed reported from Bamako, Mali.