Niger’s military tribunal has granted provisional release to Mohamed Bazoum Salem, the 23-year-old son of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, from house arrest in the capital Niamey. The tribunal made this decision on Monday, as stated in an official release.
Salem had been under detention at the presidential residence along with his parents since the military coup that ousted his father in July. This coup, one of eight in West and Central Africa since 2020, faced widespread condemnation, resulting in sanctions from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). The international community also called for the release of Bazoum and a return to democratic rule.
The military tribunal did not disclose the fate of Salem’s parents in its statement.
In a significant development, the ECOWAS Court of Justice declared last month that the detention of Bazoum’s family was arbitrary and ordered the reinstatement of President Bazoum. The court’s decisions are final and cannot be appealed. The junta now has one month to outline how it plans to execute this order, according to the lawyers involved in the case.
Following the July 26 coup, Bazoum and his son were indicted. Salem faced charges of conspiracy with the intent of undermining the authority or security of the state.
The family, according to Bazoum’s political party and relatives, has endured challenging conditions, lacking access to running water and electricity. Furthermore, their lawyers claimed that they had been denied the opportunity to meet with a magistrate and had not been informed about any legal proceedings against them.
The ECOWAS Court’s ruling adds pressure for a resolution to the situation, emphasizing the need for adherence to democratic principles and the rule of law in Niger.