Nigerien court jails nine soldiers for coup plot

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The government of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger has held 26 civil society activists since March
President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger

A Nigerien court jailed nine soldiers for between five and 15 years on Friday for an attempted coup against President Mahamadou Issoufou in 2015, a court document showed.

In December 2015, the government said it had foiled a coup and arrested people planning to use aerial firepower to seize control of Niger, a largely desert West African nation, a major uranium producer and Western ally against Saharan jihadists.

Deal of the day

In the judgment read out by Judge Ibrahim Daoudika, the suspected ringleader, General Salou Souleymane, got 15 years, as did two others.

Six co-conspirators received sentences ranging from five to 10 years, and another three accused were acquitted.

READ: IPOB suffers defeat in court again

Issoufou was elected in 2011, one year after a coup. He was re-elected in February 2016 with 92.5 per cent of the vote, after the opposition coalition boycotted the polls.

“This is not what we expected, but the court is sovereign and it judged that they conspired against the state,” lawyer Nabara Ycouba told a news conference.

“The law does not allow for an appeal. I will discuss with my clients what to do.”

Issoufou was Prime Minister of Niger from 1993 to 1994, President of the National Assembly from 1995 to 1996, and he has been a candidate in each presidential election since 1993.

He led the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), a social democratic party, from its foundation in 1990 until his election as President of Niger in 2011.

During the Presidency of Mamadou Tandja (1999–2010), Issoufou was the main opposition leader.