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Niger judge OKs release of French journalists on bail

[JURIST] Niger authorities will release on bail two French journalists charged [JURIST report] this week with threatening state security, the journalists' lawyer said Friday. Reporter Pierre Creisson and cameraman Thomas Dandois [profiles, in French] will be released when each journalist posts bail for $22,000. Passports have already been returned to the French journalists, and once they post bail they can return to France.

The pair have been in custody since their December 17 arrest [RSF report]. The two allegedly tried to report on an ethnic Tuareg rebellion [BBC backgrounder] under the guise of traveling to southern areas of the country to report on the bird flu virus. The Niger government has banned all foreigners and reporters from entering the northern region, and has made reporting on the rebels a crime punishable by death. AP has more.

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