- After 384 days in detention, the Niger correspondent of 'Radio France Internationale' (RFI) has been provisionally released from prison.
Moussa Kaka, also the director of privately-owned 'Radio Saraounia' and correspondent of the Paris-based Reporters sans frontières (RSF), was accused of conspiring with Tuareg rebels to "plot against the government," although RFI insists that his links with dissident forces were purely "neutral and strictly journalistic." He has been held since 26 September 2007.
Kaka's release ordered by the Niamey Court of Appeal has been greeted with delighted by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, describing the "good news" as a "first stage in a process that will quickly lead to a just and honourable outcome."
"We share the relief of Moussa Kaka’s family, who have displayed courage and dignity ever since his arrest. After 384 days in detention, our friend, Moussa Kaka, has the right to see this long ordeal come to an end," said RSF.
The court ruled on Tuesday that charges against Kaka should be changed to "actions liable to harm the national defence." It also ordered the case to be sent to a criminal court.
Kaka, who was greeted by family, friends and journalists as he left the prison, said, "I am relieved and I want to thank all those who thought of me during this past year."
The court's order was the result of an appeal by the prosecutor's office against a decision by Niamy's senior investigating judge on 23 July calling for the dismissal of the charge of "complicity in a conspiracy against state authority" originally brought against him, which carried a possible life sentence. This came after Kaka was questioned on the substance of the case in two hearings.
The prosecutor's office appealed that Kaka be prosecuted on the lesser charge of "actions liable to harm the national defence," which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a heavy fine.
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