UN Chief Criticizes Niger President’s Treason Case

Niger President

The United Nations human rights chief said on August 18 that there was no legal basis for Niger’s military junta to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason. 

UN commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk was alarmed at the fact that the “very notion of freedoms” in Niger was at stake as an already turmoil-stricken nation saw chaotic scenes as a military junta seized power, deposing democratically elected President Bazoum, reports Reuters, August 18. 

The military junta, responsible for the coup in the West African state, said it would prosecute the President for high treason over his exchanges with foreign heads of state and international organisations.  

The news sparked condemnation from the UN, the United States and West African leaders. The western world is also fearing that there could be an increase of Russian influence in the region as the coup was predominantly pro-Russian. 

READ: West African states WILL strike Niger, secret plan being prepared

“This decision is not only politically motivated against a democratically elected President but has no legal basis as the normal functioning of democratic institutions has been cast aside,” Volker Turk said in a statement. 

“The very notion of freedoms in Niger is at stake,” he said. “Generals cannot take it upon themselves to defy – at a whim – the will of the people. Rule-by-gun has no place in today’s world.” 

Bazoum has been imprisoned since the hostile takover and  the elected government of Niger has been dissolved by the junta.  

Niger continues to be a major uranium producer and a Western ally in the fight against an Islamist insurgency. 

The west African region has seen seven coups in the past three years as the west and ECOWAS nations have discussed plans on how to reestablish peace and democracy in the region. 

The UN commissioner called for the release of Mr. Bazoum and noted that the constant seizing of power by the military in Niger was deeply concerning. 



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