Niger: Activists questioning govt. deal with Areva arrested in advance of France president's visit - NGOs call for release

UPDATE: 21 July 2014 - the activists have now been released, but some will be summoned before a judge this week, and need ongoing support from international civil society.

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25 July 2014

Niger: Timeline of the arrest of Ali Idrissa & other activists

Author: Publish What You Pay

“Arrest of PWYP Activist Ali Idrissa in Niger on day of President Hollande's visit”, 21 Jul 2014 

Update 21/7 - All arrested activists were freed on Friday evening, but will be summoned by a judge this week…Update 14:35 18/07 - Mr. Ali Idrissa was released earlier today, but he has been told that once Hollande’s visit is over, the authorities will come to pick him up and take him to a judge. The ten members from ROTAB and other civil society groups who were also arrested this morning remain in custody at the “école de police”…Update 9:50 18/07-Ten members of ROTAB, including Mrs Solli Ramatou and Mrs Naomi Stansley have been arrested in Niamey. Publish What You Pay condemns the arrest of Ali Idrissa…Ten other members of ROTAB were arrested later this morning. These arrest followed yesterday's press conference where Mr. Idrissa discussed AREVA’s recent deal with Niger and the visit of the French President François Hollande to West Africa…[he] called on AREVA to respect Niger’s laws and denounced aspects of the France - Niger relationship as neo-colonial...Ali Idrissa is the coordinator of ROTAB and PWYP Niger and has long campaigned on issues of extractive transparency and natural resources. He is also on the International Board of EITI (Extractive Transparency Industry Initiative). Most recently, he led a campaign to ensure that Niger got a fair deal for its uranium in the country’s renegotiation of their contract with AREVA…

 

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Author: Jeune Afrique

"Niger: les dirigeants d'ONG interpelés avant la venue de Hollande ont été libérés", 19 juillet 2014

Les dix dirigeants d'un collectif d'ONG interpellés vendredi matin à Niamey avant l'arrivée au Niger du président français François  Hollande, qui a depuis lors quitté le pays, ont été libérés, a indiqué l'un d'entre eux..."Tout le monde a été libéré peu avant 18H00...Il n'y a plus personne en détention à la police", a déclaré Nouhou Arzika, une figure de la société civile nigérienne...Trois cadres du collectif "Sauvons le Niger", qui  regroupe une cinquantaine  d'ONG locales - dont certaines parmi les plus  importantes du pays -, avaient  été interpellés à leur domicile...puis libérés quelques  heures plus tard, selon M.  Arzika. Les sept autres responsables associatifs, arrêtés alors  qu'ils manifestaient sur une artère de Niamey, sont désormais libres, tout comme une vingtaine de manifestants qui avaient été conduits à l'école de police de la ville, a-t-il  poursuivi..."Nous avons été interpellés pendant que nous manifestions avec des mouchoirs jaunes sur la voie principale que doit emprunter le cortège  présidentiel", avait raconté Ramatou Soly, coordinatrice du Groupe de réflexion et d'action  sur les industries extractives au Niger. Les mouchoirs jaunes, comme la couleur du "yellow cake", un concentré d'uranium utilisé dans la préparation de combustible pour centrales nucléaires, sont le signe des opposants à Areva, le géant du nucléaire français, qui exploite deux mines dans le nord du Niger. "Nous  sommes surpris par ces  arrestations puisque notre manifestation a été autorisée par le gouvernorat de  Niamey. Mais cela ne nous découragera pas", avait-elle protesté...le gouverneur de Niamey Hamidou Garba a "formellement démenti" toute autorisation de manifestation accordée au collectif..."Sauvons  le Niger" dénonçait jeudi soir dans un communiqué "la recolonisation rampante" du Niger par la France. Paris veut "s’accaparer nos ressources naturelles" et "terroriser nos dirigeants" afin qu’ils "restent soumis (au) bon vouloir" français, accusait le collectif.

 

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17 July 2014

Arrest of PWYP Activist Ali Idrissa in Niger on day of President Hollande's visit

Author: Publish What You Pay

Publish What You Pay condemns the arrest of Ali Idrissa, ROTAB and PWYP Niger coordinator, taken  Areva uranium mine in Arlit, Niger - (c) Pierre Verdy, AFP/Gettyfrom his home by Nigerien police at 04:00 am this morning. Ten other members of ROTAB were arrested later this morning. These arrests followed yesterday's press conference where Mr. Idrissa discussed AREVA’s recent deal with Niger and the visit of the French President François Hollande... Mr. Idrissa had called on AREVA to respect Niger’s laws and denounced aspects of the France - Niger relationship as neo-colonial... The French President Hollande is due to arrive in Niamey today as part of his tour of West Africa. Ali Idrissa was released earlier today, but he has been told that once Hollande’s visit is over, the authorities will come to pick him up and take him to a judge.

Ali Idrissa is the coordinator of ROTAB and PWYP Niger and has long campaigned on issues of extractive transparency and natural resources. He is also on the International Board of EITI (Extractive Transparency Industry Initiative)...Publish What You Pay calls upon the Government of Niger for the immediate release without conditions of Ali Idrissa and for the respect of freedom of expression and association of civil society... The ten members from ROTAB and other civil society groups who were also arrested this morning remain in custody... Mme Solli Ramatou (GREN), Mme Naomi Stansley (ROTAB), Mr Maikoul Zodi (ROTAB), Halidou Mounkaila (Membre CA ROTAB), Mr Mato (MPCR), Boubacar illiassou (Rotab), Yaou (Gardien siege ROTAB), Ibrahim Naimayou, Bozari Boubacar (GREN)

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