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A military-governed court in Niger has ruled that the country’s overthrown president, Mohamed Bazoum, no longer has legal immunity.

Abdou Dan Galadima, the president of the State Court, Niger’s highest legal authority established by the military government last November, made the announcement on Friday. The military regime had earlier this year announced plans to prosecute Bazoum for “high treason” and undermining national security.


Bazoum, under house arrest along with his family, stands accused of reaching out to French President Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken via telephone during the July 2023 coup to seek Western intervention. The legal proceedings against him faced delays due to obstacles cited by his lawyers, who have been unable to communicate with him since October last year.

Human Rights Watch has criticized the court proceedings, noting serious irregularities such as Bazoum’s inability to present evidence, communicate with his lawyers, and be heard by an independent judiciary. Additionally, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS declared Bazoum’s detention arbitrary and called for his release.

Before his removal, Bazoum was seen as a key Western ally in the Sahel region, supporting anti-terrorism efforts against ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. His tenure marked Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence in 1960. The military government has since expelled French and US troops. In addition, the defacto government has become closer to Russia and has allowed Russian troops to operate within the country.


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