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Niger’s Apex Court Lifts Immunity of Ousted President Bazoum

Niger’s top court has stripped former President Mohamed Bazoum of his immunity, thereby enabling his potential prosecution at his hands of the junta that ousted him in last year’s coup. The decision by the State Court, announced by its president, Abdou Dan Galadima, follows the military’s accusations that Bazoum committed high treason and undermined national security by communicating with French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the coup that ousted him from power. Since last October, the junta has held Bazoum and his family under house arrest. They’ve also prevented him from communicating with his lawyers, charged with defending him during the prosecution. The junta’s handling of Bazoum’s prosecution has drawn criticism from numerous quarters, including Human Rights Watch. The international organization alleged the junta has violated many of Bazoum’s rights, including his right to defense, communicate with his legal counsel, and prosecution by an independent court.