Police in Niger have released two journalists held for allegedly defaming the country’s finance minister, but they still face prosecution, a press association said on Friday.
”They have been freed, but the prosecutor has notified them that legal procedures will follow their normal course,” said Boubacar Diallo, of the Association of Independent Press Editors.
Soumana Maiga, founder of the biweekly L’Enqueteur, was detained on Wednesday, while Ibrahim Souley, the publication’s director, was briefly detained last Thursday before being held again for questioning five days later.
L’Enqueteur published a series of articles last month that included allegations that Finance Minister Ali Lamine Zeine had been involved in embezzlement and favouritism in ministry appointments.
Two other journalists are also being held in Niger.
Moussa Kaka, Radio France Internationale’s correspondent in the country, has been detained since September 26, while Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, director of the biweekly Air-Info, has been held since October 9.
They face charges over alleged links to a Tuareg rebel group active in the country’s north.
Prosecutors at Agadez, in the north of the country, questioned Manzo Diallo for the first time on Friday, grilling him for three hours in the presence of his lawyer, Moussa Coulibaly, who also represents Kaka. — Sapa-AFP