(Oct. 14, 2008) On October 8, 2008, an appeals court in Niamey, Niger's capital, ordered Moussa Kaka released on bail pending trial. Kaka is a well-known journalist currently charged with “undermining national territorial integrity through conspiracy with Tuareg rebels,”according to his attorney, Boureïma Fodi. Kaka could be punished with five years in prison under this offense, but it is a less serious charge than “complicity in undermining the authority of the state,” which he previously faced and which could have resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment.
Kaka had been arrested on September 24, 2007, and acquitted in separate actions in February and July of this year, but was being kept in jail pending an appeal by the prosecution. Kaka was a correspondent for French international broadcaster Radio France Internationale and the director of broadcasting network Radio Saraounya; he has been covering the rebellions of the Tuareg people since the 1990s and held an interview with rebel leaders prior to his arrest.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based advocacy group working on press freedom issues, welcomed the reporter's release on bail and called on Niger's authorities “to adhere to the rule of Nigerien law; courts have acquitted Kaka twice this year.” (Press Release, Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ Welcomes Release of Moussa Kaka (Oct. 8, 2008), available at http://www.cpj.org/news/2008/africa/niger07oct08na.html; Press Release, Reporters Without Borders, Court Orders Journalist's Provisional Release After More Than a Year in Detention (Oct. 7, 2008), available at http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=28843.)