DE RUEHNM #0460 1211352
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301352Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4277
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L NIAMEY 000460
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2013
SUBJECT: NIGERIEN BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS
REF: (A) NIAMEY 364 (NOTAL) (B) NIAMEY 196 (NOTAL)
Classified By: Donald W. Koran, DCM, reasons 1.4 (b/d)
1. (U) In an April 30 meeting with the DCM, Nigerien Bar
Association president Moussa Coulibaly reviewed the status of
the case against two journalists (ref A) and the December 9
incident in the north (ref B). Coulibaly is the lawyer
defending the journalists, and he represents the families of
the people killed in the December 9 incident. He also
claimed that the GON is overstepping its authority under the
state of alert in the north.
2. (C) Coulibaly claimed that the real reason the GON charged
Moussa Kaka of RFI and Ibrahim Manzo Diallo of Air Info with
conspiring with the MNJ was to stifle reporting on the north.
He said that Diallo was freed in February pending trial, and
that the case was "on standby." Coulibaly recalled that the
trial judge in Kaka's case dismissed as inadmissible the
phone intercepts allegedly linking Kaka to the MNJ because
they were obtained illegally. An appeals court overturned
that decision, and assigned a new trial judge to the case.
It also denied a request to release Kaka pending trial.
Coulibaly explained that phone intercepts require a warrant,
but the GON has never established the procedures for
obtaining one, making any intercepts inadmissible. In any
event, he contended, the intercepts do not prove that Kaka
conspired with the MNJ. The supreme court's review of the
appeals court decision is tentatively scheduled for May 8.
The December 9 killings
3. (C) Coulibaly claimed the GON has made no effort to
investigate the killings of 7 people (6 civilians and an
off-duty police officer) between Agadez and Bilma on December
9. On December 24 Coulibaly filed on behalf of the families
of the victims a complaint with the Ministry of Defense (MOD)
alleging that unnamed persons tortured and murdered the
people. He explained that any legal action against soldiers
requires MOD concurrence, and it was clear that soldiers had
committed the killings. (The GON admitted at the time that
soldiers were responsible, but claimed that it was a case of
mistaken identity.) In March Coulibaly sent a letter to the
MOD asking about the case. The MOD responded that the
Gendarmerie had investigated the matter and provided a report
of the investigation to the prosecutor in Agadez. Coulibaly
said the report merely reflected the families' complaint
rather than an investigation. On April 29 he sent another
letter to the MOD acknowledging receipt of the MOD's letter,
but disputing the MOD's claim that there had been an
investigation. In the letter, Coulibaly said he complained
about the MOD's delay in addressing the matter and threatened
to take it to a regional or international court if he does
not receive a satisfactory response within two weeks.
Coulibaly said he was considering bringing the case to the
ECOWAS court. Coulibaly said that the original complaint was
filed against unknown persons because at the time he did not
know the identities of the soldiers, but he now knows who
The State of Alert
4. (C) Coulibaly complained that the GON is overstepping its
rights under the state of alert that has been in effect in
the north since last August. He contended that the measure
only gives the military police powers. It does not otherwise
abridge fundamental rights such as the right to be charged
within a certain period.
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