ECOWAS court orders release of Niger's deposed president Bazoum

The court of the West African bloc ECOWAS said on Friday that Mohamed Bazoum, the president of the Republic of Niger, who has been detained since a coup on July 26, should be released immediately.

The judge in the case in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, ordered Bazoum's “immediate and unconditional release” and his reinstatement.

Following Bazoum's overthrow and imprisonment by the presidential guard, Niger is currently suspended from the Economic Community of West African States.

“It is Mohamed Bazoum who represents Niger State; he remains President of the Republic,” the court ruling said.

“Constitutional rights have been violated.”

Since his overthrow, Bazoum has lived with his wife and their child in his presidential mansion.

Niger's military government did not immediately respond to the decision. In the past, several Member States have ignored ECOWAS court rulings.

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The deposed president filed an appeal to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in mid-September, hoping for both his freedom and the restoration of the country's constitutional order.

“There is no appeal against the court's decisions,” Bazoum's legal collective said in a statement to AFP.

According to Seydou Diagne, one of Bazoum's lawyers, the court “convicted for the first time military authorities whose coup d'état violated the principles of the ECOWAS Constitution.”

“It is the responsibility of ECOWAS and its member states to ensure that this court decision is effectively applied,” the lawyers' statement said.

ECOWAS announced on Thursday that Niger has now been suspended from all its “decision-making bodies” until constitutional order is restored.


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