Niger: Human Rights Defenders Moudi Moussa, Halidou Mounkaila & Maikoul Zodi featured in CIVICUS' #StandAsMyWitness campaign
'Why you should #StandAsMyWitness', July 18, 2020
Moudi Moussa, Halidou Mounkaila & Maikoul Zodi are human rights defenders from Niger. Moudi Moussa is a journalist and trade unionist, Halidou Maikoul is a leader of the Nigerien teachers union (SYNACEB) and Mailkoul Zodi is the National Coordinator of Tournons La Page (TLP). They were arrested on 15 March after participating in a protest in which they urged the Nigerien authorities to investigate allegations of the misuse of funds for contracts at the Ministry of Defence. The protests were violently repressed, and they were charged with participating in an unauthorised gathering, complicity in damaging public property, arson and manslaughter. Their continued detention is symptomatic of an ongoing pattern of restrictions on civic space in Niger and the continued harassment of human rights defenders and journalists. Over the last several months, human rights defenders have been intimidated by security forces for speaking out against corruption and have been charged with defamation under the Cyber Crimes Law (2019). Journalists and bloggers have also been subjected to judicial persecution for reporting on corruption. In May 2020 Niger’s Parliament approved a new law that empowers authorities to intercept telephone communication in the context of the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.