June 14, 2024

Niger scraps immunity of deposed president Bazoum

Niger scraps immunity of deposed president Bazoum

Mohamed Bazoum

Niger’s top court on Friday lifted the immunity of president Mohamed Bazoum, paving the way for a possible trial after his ouster in a July 2023 military coup.

“The court orders the lifting of Mohamed Bazoum’s immunity,” said Abdou Dan Galadima, president of the court, created in November by the new military regime.

The Niger authorities accuse Bazoum of treason, financing terrorism and plotting to undermine the state.

He has been held at the presidential residence with his wife Hadiza since the coup on July 26.

After Friday’s hearing, Ould Salem Mohamed, one of Bazoum’s lawyers, said they took note of the decision and that the defence team would make a statement shortly.

Bazoum is accused of having spoken by telephone with French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a bid for support “by an armed intervention” during the coup.

The court hearing had been postponed twice, with Bazoum’s lawyers complaining of several obstacles to the right of a defence.

In December, the court of the West African bloc, ECOWAS, ordered his immediate release.

Niger pulled out of the regional grouping a month later.