Monday, December 24, 2007

Niger: French journalists could face death penalty

From Agence France Presse:

Two French pressmen arrested in Niger while working for the Franco-German TV station Arte could face the death penalty after being charged with "intelligence" with a Tuareg rebel group.

Their lawyer said Saturday that the charges levelled against journalist Thomas Dandois and cameraman Pierre Creisson were "a serious setback for liberty and the rule of law."

They were formally accused Friday of "intelligence with armed groups," after allegedly ignoring a ban on journalists visiting the restive north of the country to interview leaders of the Movement of Niger People for Justice (MNJ).

Lawyer Moussa Coulibaly, who also represents two local journalists accused of links with the MNJ, said, "To my knowledge, no legal action has been taken against (the group's leaders), but anyone who has even remote contact with them is prosecuted for the most serious crimes."

Coulibaly said the case could take "a long time" to come to trial.

Here is something of a primer on what the journalists did to raise the ire of Nigerien authorities.

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