Lawyers representing Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, have called upon a West African regional court to demand his reinstatement, arguing that his detention and overthrow were in violation of his rights.
Soldiers took control on July 26, detaining Bazoum, alleging his inability to address rising insecurity in the region.
This event is one of eight similar power seizures in West and Central Africa in the past three years. Bazoum’s legal team presented their case to the Community Court of Justice, which handles cases within the ECOWAS regional bloc, even though member states are not obligated to follow its decisions.
Seydou Diagne, a member of Bazoum’s legal team, asked the court, located in Abuja, Nigeria, to declare that the removal of Bazoum’s government was a violation of his political rights.
They also argued that Bazoum, along with his wife and son, should be released unconditionally, and Bazoum should be reinstated as president.
In October, the military leaders of Niger reported that they had successfully prevented an escape attempt by Bazoum, the former president who was overthrown in a coup in July.
“At around three in the morning (October 20), the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and his family, his two cooks and two security elements, tried to escape from his place of detention,” Amadou Abdramane, the regime’s spokesman said on state television.
The escape bid failed and “the main actors and some of the accomplices” were arrested, he added in the broadcast late Thursday.
A probe was launched then.
“The escape plan had involved Bazoum at first getting to a hideout on the outskirts of the capital Niamey,” said Abdramane.
They had planned to fly out on helicopters “belonging to a foreign power” towards Nigeria, he added, denouncing Bazoum’s “irresponsible attitude”.
Since he was toppled by the military on July 26, Bazoum has refused to resign.
In September, Bazoum’s lawyers had said he filed a legal case with a court of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) against those who deposed him.