The UN human rights chief has indicated that there was no legal foundation for Niger’s military junta to prosecute deposed president Mohamed Bazoum for high treason, and that the country’s “very notion of freedoms” was in danger.
The military junta that took power in a coup last month said it will charge Bazoum with high treason over his ties with foreign heads of state and international organizations, igniting outrage from the US and West African nations.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement
that “This decision is not only politically motivated against a democratically elected President but has no legal basis as the normal functioning of democratic institutions has been cast aside.”
He added that the “Generals cannot take it upon themselves to defy – at a whim – the will of the people. Rule-by-gun has no place in today’s world.”
Turk, who also demanded the immediate release of the deposed leader said the Niger coup, the region’s sixth in three years, was highly disturbing.
Bazoum is under house arrest, and the elected government of Niger, a key uranium producer and Western partner in the fight against an extremist insurgency, has been disbanded.