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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Niger charges French journalists for reporting on Tuareg rebels
Jaime Jansen at 9:18 AM ET

[JURIST] Niger authorities charged two French journalists [AFP report] with threatening state security Wednesday, alleging that the journalists attempted to report on rebel groups in the country's volatile north region. The West African country has been in a state of disarray since the rebirth of an ethnic Tuareg rebellion [BBC backgrounder] last year. The Niger government banned all foreigners and reporters from entering the northern region, and made reporting on the rebels a crime punishable by death. Leaders of the rebel group, the Niger Movement for Justice [group website, in French], have conducted some interviews via satellite phone and have communicated information about the rebellion on their website.

The two French journalists - reporter Pierre Creisson and cameraman Thomas Dandois - have been in custody since their December 17 arrest [RSF report]. The two allegedly tried to report on the Tuareg rebels under the guise of traveling to southern areas of the country to report on the bird flu virus. A trial date has not yet been set. Also this week, a Niamey appeals court deferred a decision [RSF report] in the case of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] correspondent, Moussa Kaka, who allegedly "connived" with the rebels. AP has more.

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