September 25, 2009

Président de la République: S.E.M .Tandja Mamadou
PO Box 369
Niamey, Niger
Fax: + 227 2073 3430
H.E.M Ousmane Moutari
Ambassadeur, Représentant Permanent
Permanent Mission of Niger to the United Nations
417 East 50th Street
New York, NY – 10022
Fax: + 1 212 753 6931

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,400 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our grave concern over the health of Canard Déchaîné editor Abdoulaye Tiémogo, who contracted malaria after being imprisoned on August 1, 2009.

According to our information, on August 22, just four days after his sentencing, Mr.Tiémogo was reportedly hospitalized after contracting malaria at Niamey’s central prison. On August 31, Tiémogo was transferred against doctors’ advice from a hospital in the capital to a prison in the remote town of Ouallam. He is reportedly no longer receiving adequate medical attention.

Mr. Tiémogo was originally arrested on August 1 along with Le Courrier publisher Ali Soumana and questioned over articles he published on alleged corruption scandals involving the national human rights commission and high-ranking officials, including the Minister of Justice and the son of current president. These cases were reportedly dropped in order to charge Mr. Tiémogo under the penal code instead. Mr. Tiémogo’s sentence is reportedly related to a television interview in which he discussed Le Canard Déchaîné’s coverage of the government’s decision to issue an international arrest warrant against exiled former Prime Minister Hama Amadou on corruption charges.

The editor has appealed the three-month sentence and requested bail. If his appeal is unsuccessful, he is expected to be released on November 1, 2009.

PEN American Center is extremely troubled by the treatment of Abdoulaye Tiémogo, and believes that he is being held solely for the peaceful expression of his views, in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. We therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all others detained in Niger for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.


Hannah Pakula                  
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: His Excellency Aminata Djibrilla Maiga Touré
Embassy of the Republic of Niger
2204 R Street, NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: (202) 483-3169

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