DAKAR (Reuters) – Lawyers for Niger’s ousted president Mohamed Bazoum asked a West African regional court on Monday to order that he be reinstated, arguing that his detention and overthrow violated his rights.
Bazoum has been held since soldiers seized power on July 26, accusing him of failing to contain mounting insecurity in the region – one of eight such takeovers in West and Central Africa in the past three years.
His lawyers took his case to the Community Court of Justice, set up to rule on cases across the regional bloc ECOWAS – though member states do not have to follow its orders and there is no framework to make its decisions binding.
One of Bazoum’s legal team, Seydou Diagne, asked the court based in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to rule that “the brutal end of Bazoum’s government was a violation of his political rights”.
Diagne, speaking over video link from Senegal’s capital Dakar, said Bazoum should be freed without condition and reinstated as president.
The lawyers also said his detention with his wife and son violated their human rights.
A lawyer for the Niger junta, Aissatou Zada, told the court that Bazoum, his wife and son were not arbitrarily detained or sequestrated. He said they were free to come and go as they wished, but the president was held at home for his own security.
Bazoum’s lawyers said they have not been able to speak with him since the Oct. 20, after the junta accused the former president of attempting to escape with the help of accomplices.
The court is set to rule on the case on Nov. 30.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian and Andrew Heavens)