Home » The Bleak Life in Captivity of Niger’s Deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum

The Bleak Life in Captivity of Niger’s Deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum

by ballyhooglobal.com
0 comment

Held captive by his former safety guards in an remoted wing of his home, the deposed president of Niger paces a bed room with no direct daylight, reduce off from the world and unable to speak to his attorneys, in response to folks with direct data of the circumstances of his detention.

9 months since he was toppled in one of many coups which have just lately wracked West Africa, Mohamed Bazoum is lingering in detention without end. The navy junta that deposed him is searching for to strip him of presidential immunity, paving the way in which for him to be prosecuted on costs corresponding to treason, for which the penalty could possibly be life imprisonment, his attorneys stated.

Trapped along with his spouse, Hadiza, and two home staff, he has no entry to a telephone and isn’t allowed to see his attorneys, different members of the family or buddies, in response to members of his internal circle who spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the precariousness of the scenario. His solely customer is a physician, who brings him meals as soon as per week.

The once-loud requires his launch have grown quiet. A lot of Mr. Bazoum’s closest allies — his cupboard members and advisers — have been thrown into jail or compelled to flee Niger.

And a few of Mr. Bazoum’s closest worldwide companions are backing away. On the demand of the governing junta, the USA is making ready to withdraw about 1,000 troops stationed at an air base within the nation’s desert. France, a longtime accomplice within the battle towards extremist teams affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, departed in December.

As an alternative, about 100 Russian navy instructors arrived within the capital, Niamey, in April as Niger’s new leaders turned to Moscow for safety help.

“Little by little, this man is forgotten in all of those geopolitical strikes,” stated Reed Brody, a distinguished human rights lawyer representing Mr. Bazoum.

The navy leaders who took over in Niger accused him of failing to safe the nation from the Islamist insurgents, however most analysts say political rivalries had been the true trigger and that Niger was doing higher than its neighbors at conserving armed insurgents at bay.

As troopers have seized energy in a number of West and Central African international locations up to now 4 years, they’ve curtailed particular person freedoms, delayed a return to civilian rule and persecuted opponents, together with the presidents they as soon as served after which ousted.

However Mr. Bazoum’s ordeal stands out. He has been faraway from energy however stays on the coronary heart of it, as Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the senior navy official who toppled him and now governs Niger, retains him detained only some hundred ft from his workplace, within the presidential compound.

“Tchiani’s energy lies partially on Bazoum’s detention,” stated Amadou Ange Chekaraou Barou, a detailed adviser to Mr. Bazoum. “Bazoum is sort of a defend to him.”

The navy authorities in Niger didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

Mr. Bazoum, 64, has refused to resign, however worldwide companions now communicate of him as a former chief. A spokesman for the State Division stated in April, “We proceed to name for the discharge of former President Bazoum and people unjustly detained as a part of the navy coup in July 2023.”

On Might 10, he’s scheduled for a listening to that would strip his presidential immunity, his attorneys say. This might result in his prosecution on costs like treason, over an accusation that he tried to flee in October; supporting terrorism, for saying in an interview whereas president that the Islamist militants had higher data of the battlefield than the navy; and plotting towards the state’s security, as he’s accused of asking overseas powers to free him shortly after the coup.

Moussa Coulibaly, a lawyer representing Mr. Bazoum in hearings in Niamey, refused to say whether or not the previous president had tried to flee, and he accused the junta of attempting to make an unlawful detention seem professional.

Throughout his first months of captivity, Mr. Bazoum was held along with his spouse; their 22-year-old son, Salem; and two home staff within the presidential residence. That they had no electrical energy however had been capable of roam inside the home as guards and others perched on armed pickup vans surrounded it.

But the home quickly turned a huge oven, a member of Mr. Bazoum’s shut circle stated. Temperatures that reached 105 levels Fahrenheit outdoors made the captives’ pores and skin peel, the particular person stated. Ms. Bazoum additionally suffered from a critical episode of malaria.

After the junta accused Mr. Bazoum of attempting to flee in October, it curtailed his motion even additional, trapping him, his household and his home staff right into a wing of the residence. Troopers at the moment are stationed inside and have eliminated keys from the doorways contained in the residence, in order that Mr. Bazoum can’t lock them for privateness. There’s electrical energy, however troopers confiscated all telephones, in response to these interviewed in his internal circle.

Mr. Bazoum spends his days exercising on an indoor bike and studying Marxist principle, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Tolstoy’s “Battle and Peace.” His relations and closest advisers had hoped that he can be launched for Christmas or for Eid al-Fitr in April. His son was launched this yr.

However, as the previous president stays stranded in a bed room as soon as utilized by considered one of his youngsters, they are saying that his subsequent transfer is likely to be to jail.

“Jail has at all times been one thing he has taken into consideration in his political profession,” a member of Mr. Bazoum’s shut circle stated.

A onetime highschool philosophy trainer, Mr. Bazoum was elected president of Niger in 2021 and rapidly made the nation one of the crucial favored recipients of overseas help in West Africa. He tackled corruption and vowed to ship extra ladies to highschool, partially to restrict early pregnancies in a rustic with the world’s highest birthrate. He labored intently with China to construct an oil pipeline that’s Africa’s longest, which the junta inaugurated this yr.

He sought assist from the USA and European international locations in combating off extremist teams and purchased drones from Turkey, but in addition negotiated with the militants in semisecrecy.

He welcomed to the capital the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the U.N. secretary basic, António Guterres. European emissaries just like the Prince of Denmark and Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, additionally visited.

“Bazoum was seen as one of the best of all companions, and Western leaders had been connected to him,” stated Jean-Hervé Jézéquel, the Worldwide Disaster Group’s undertaking director for the Sahel area, which incorporates Niger. However “to date, that reputation hasn’t borne fruit” in securing Mr. Bazoum’s launch, he stated.

For months, the USA and European international locations remained divided over one of the best strategy to acquire his launch from Niger’s junta and to encourage a return to civilian rule, in response to three senior Western officers engaged on Niger. France pushed for a navy intervention; the USA resisted the thought.

Now, Niger has kicked out each international locations and introduced Russia in.

Mr. Barou, the senior adviser to Mr. Bazoum, stated there was little to hope for his freedom from the present junta. “Within the historical past of Niger,” he stated, “detained presidents had been by no means launched till the troopers who deposed them obtained evicted.”

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.