A West African court has ruled that the house arrest of the former president of Niger, Mamadou Tandja, is illegal, reports Fazozine.
The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which sits in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, this week declared as arbitrary Tandja’s arrest and detention, and ordered his immediate release.
However, the court rejected as unfounded allegations of torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment which Tandja brought against the Niger government.
Tandja was deposed by a miltary coup in February and has since been held in detention at “Villa Verte”. His lawyer, Souley Oumarou, petitioned the Ecowas court against his detention in October, arguing that was illegal since there was no international statute or precedent which warranting it.
Although the military rulers of Nigeria are scheduled to hand over to civilian leaders in April 2011, they have already made known their desire to appeal the ruling.
Report excerpted and translated from the French by Michael Tantoh.