By Gift Habib
The United Nations human rights chief, Volker Turk has said that there was no legal basis for Niger’s military junta to prosecute deposed president Mohamed Bazoum for high treason.
Turk, also stated that the very notion of freedom in Niger was at stake.
On August 13 2023, the Niger junta said it will prosecute ousted Bazoum for high treason over his exchanges with foreign heads of state and international organisations.
Junta spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane said the military authorities had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute the ousted president…for high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.”
Reacting, the UN human rights chief as quoted by Reuters on Friday said, “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.
“The very notion of freedoms in Niger is at stake.
“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.”
The coup leaders have imprisoned Bazoum and dissolved the elected government of Niger, a major uranium producer and a Western ally in the fight against an Islamist insurgency.