Newspaper Publisher Bory Seyni
Assaulted by Niger Interior Minister

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October 7, 1998


His Excellency
Ibrahim Barre Mainassara
President of the National Salvation Council
Niamey, Niger

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) writes to strongly protest the August 20, 1998, brutal assault on Bory Seyni, publisher of the independent weekly Le Democrate, by Minister of the Interior Souley Abdoulaye. CPJ is alarmed that a government official, responsible for upholding the rule of law in Niger, has physically retaliated against a journalist for carrying out his professional responsibilities.

At approximately 9:00 p.m., on August 20, 1998, Seyni was transported by soldiers to the Ministry of the Interior, where Souley lunged at him with a leather crop and whipped him. Two Ministry of the Interior officials present during the attack— Secretary General Maman Zaki and Director of Political and Judicial Affairs Ali Salatou— interposed themselves between Bory and Souley to stop the assault Abdoulaye.

The next day, the journalist filed a complaint against Souley in a local Niamey court. Souley was apparently angered by a report published in Le Democrate which claimed the Minister of the Interior was involved in an unscrupulous deal involving the sale of wheat imported for national consumption.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists committed to the defense of our colleagues' rights worldwide, CPJ protests the assault on Bory committed as retribution for his work as a journalist. The conduct of the Minister of Interior constitutes a violation of all journalists' rights to hold and express opinions and ideas. These rights are guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 9 of the African Charter of Human and People's Rights, to all of which, we respectfully remind Your Excellency, Niger is a signatory. CPJ strongly urges Your Excellency to immediately dismiss Souley from his post and to ensure that he is prosecuted. We also urge Your Excellency to communicate to all Niger officials that the rights of journalists to practice their profession freely and without reprisal must be guaranteed.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



Join CPJ in Protesting Attacks on the Press in Niger

 

Send a letter to:

His Excellency
Ibrahim Barre Mainassara
President of the National Salvation Council
Niamey, Niger

Fax: 227-72-22-45