UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk raised concerns on Friday about the Nigerien military junta’s decision to prosecute President Mohamed Bazoum and others working with him for high treason. Türk expressed worries for people in Niger, calling on the generals who seized power in July to immediately restore constitutional order and democracy.
According to a statement read out on Sunday by junta spokesperson Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane, the junta said they would prosecute President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason and undermining the internal and external security of Niger.” Abdramane alleged that Bazoum’s communication with foreign nations compromised Niger’s security.
“Now the very people who they elected to build a pathway to end their destitution have been removed by force against the constitutional order and detained by the coup leaders. They must be released at once, and democracy restored. This decision is not only politically motivated against a democratically elected President but has no legal basis as the normal functioning of democratic institutions have been cast aside,” Türk said.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the high treason charges against President Mohamed Bazoum, stating that they “contradict the reported willingness of the military authorities in the Republic of Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means.” ECOWAS previously approved military intervention to restore Niger’s constitutional order last week.