The blogger was released after the trial against the son of the Nigerien president who accused her of defamation in a corruption case.
Nigerian journalist and blogger Samira Sabou has regained her freedom since July 28, 2020 after the court dismissed the defamation case between her and Sani Mahamadou Issoufou, son of the Nigerien president and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidency.
The manager of the Mides Niger news site and president of the Bloggers Association for active citizenship (ABCA) had been charged “for defamation electronically on June 10” and imprisoned in the wake of Niamey, the Nigerien capital. Sani Mahamadou Issoufou had filed “a complaint against Samira Sabou after a Facebook user mentioned May 26 (2020) her name in a comment responding to a publication made by the journalist on corruption allegations, “ explains Amnesty. “The boss’s son will fall” is the comment that earned the blogger more than 45 days of incarceration, reports Nigerian media Labari Info.
The case, which gave rise to this defamation complaint, follows a public procurement audit by Niger’s Ministry of Defense. Which revealed a misappropriation of 76 billion CFA francs (111 million euros) from 2014 to 2018. A case that Samira Sabou followed and which she echoed on on the Facebook page.
“Samira Sabou did not however mention the name of Sani Mahamadou Issoufou in (the offending publication). She should never have been criminally prosecuted for allegations of defamation or detained “, Amnesty International stressed on the eve of his trial which began on July 14.
Just now with our comrade Samira Sabou in the big family
Thank you all for the multiple supports and encouragement during this unfair ordeal … @ AmnestyWARO @ article19wafric @TournonsLaPage @RFI @SaharaReporters @maliactu @bbcafrique pic.twitter.com/5NZ28LePIY
– Mamane Kaka Touda, (@ToudaKaka) July 28, 2020
“There is nothing to reproach our comrade Samira Sabou. (…) She did 48 days in the civil prison of Niamey for nothing”, ABCA member Mamoudou Djibo told Labari Info after the verdict. The entire profession praised the work of the Nigerien justice in this case where Samira Sabou benefited from the support of several organizations defending freedom of expression and human rights.
“This release is a first positive signal sent by the judiciary in Niger”, said Alice Mogwe, president of the International Federation for Human Rights, in a statement while pleading for the release of other human rights defenders. Especially “Maikoul Zodi, Halidou Mounkaila and Moussa Moudy, detained for taking a stand against corruption “.
Samira Sabou is the first victim of the controversial new law on cybercrime in Niger. “This victory is not mine but that of all those who are in love with justice and who are committed knowing that this law on cybercrime which struck me has inconsistencies”, said Samira Sabou on her release from prison, reports RFI.
“The abusive use of the law on cybercrime under which (the journalist) has been arrested increases the risk that other journalists will censor themselves and refrain from doing their legitimate work to avoid prosecution “, recently underlined Kiné-Fatim Diop, Campaigner for West Africa at Amnesty International.
Samira Sabou, who has not lost her pugnacity, now intends to fight this law. “We will fight (…) for (son) abrogation”, entrusted the journalist to the French-speaking channel TV5. She believes that this law “is not a law on cybercrime (…) but rather a law against freedom of expression, a law which serves a regime”.