Responding to the enforced disappearance of Samira Sabou, a Nigerien journalist and blogger who was taken from her home on 30 September by masked men who identified themselves as members of the security services, Ousmane Diallo, Sahel researcher at Amnesty International’s regional office for West and Central Africa, said:
We are alarmed by the enforced disappearance of Samira Sabou and we call on the National Council for the Salvation of the Fatherland (CNSP) to immediately disclose Samira Sabou’s whereabouts and ensure her prompt and unconditional release. If the authorities genuinely do not know where she is being held, they need to investigate and find out without further delay. Every day that passes is one more day of violating Sabou’s right to liberty and fair trial and puts her under the risk of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.Ousmane Diallo, Sahel researcher at Amnesty International’s regional office for West and Central Africa
Samira Sabou is an activist deeply committed to defending human rights and denouncing corruption. It is highly likely that her enforced disappearance is linked to this strong activism and her recent denunciations of arbitrary arrests by the CNSP.
“Niger has ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. We urge the CNSP to respect its human rights obligations under national and international law, including the prohibition of enforced disappearances and the protection of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We also call them to respect and protect human rights defenders, whose rights are guaranteed by Articles 4, 6, and 7 of the June 2022 law on the rights and duties of human rights defenders and by international law.”
Samira Sabou is a journalist, activist, and president of bloggers of Niger. On September 30, 2023, she was arrested at her mother’s home in Niamey by several masked men who identified themselves as members of the security force. The masked men showed their professional cards, and insisted that Samira follow them into a car, where she was hooded and driven to a destination unknown to her family and lawyer. Neither her family nor her lawyer have been able to speak to her since her arrest, nor know where she has been taken. The criminal investigation department of the Niamey Police also claims to have no knowledge of the case.
There have been other recent violations against people who solely exercised their right to freedom of expression. On 3 October, Samira Ibrahim, a social media user known also as “Precious Mimi” was convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of XOF 300000 (USD 479) for “producing data that could disturb public order”. She was charged for a Facebook post, in which she referred to the denial of recognition by Algeria of the new Nigerien government.