Free journalist and blogger Samira Sabou detained in Niger
Samira Sabou was arrested on 10 June after she responded to a court summons issued in response to a defamation complaint filed by Sani Mahamadou Issoufou, the son and chief of staff of Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. Samira is now in pre-trial detention in the civil prison in Niamey.
Samira Sabou is a journalist and blogger who manages the Mides-Niger news website. She is also the president of the Association of Bloggers for Active Citizenship - ABCA. She is respected and well-known for her work.
On 26 May, Samira published a post on her Facebook page in which she referred to public figures allegedly linked to an audit of the Ministry of Defense regarding overcharging and embezzlement during the purchase of military equipment for the army.
Following a defamation complaint from the son and chief of staff of the President of Niger, Samira has been arbitrarily arrested. She was charged with “defamation by a means of electronic communication” for her post, and for a comment made on the post by another Facebook user.
She is now in pre-trial detention in the civil prison in Niamey where overcrowding and poor detention conditions put her health at risk, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to five million XOF (7627 Euros) according to the controverted cybercrime law in Niger.
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Demand to Niger authorities to immediately release Samira Sabou and drop all charges against her.
Send an email to President Mahamadou Issoufou to ensure that the country’s cybercrime law is not used to persecute and harass journalists. Tell Niger to protect the freedom of expression as well as the freedom of the press.