The United Nations human rights chief stated on Friday that there is no legal foundation for Niger’s military junta to pursue charges of high treason against ousted president Mohamed Bazoum, adding, that the core concept of freedoms within the country was under scrutiny.
Following their seizure of power in a coup last month, the military junta has announced its intention to bring high treason charges against Bazoum for his communications with foreign heads of state and international organizations.
“This decision is not only politically motivated against a democratically elected president but has no legal basis as the normal functioning of democratic institutions has been cast aside,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement.
“The very notion of freedoms in Niger is at stake,” he said. “Generals cannot take it upon themselves to defy – at a whim – the will of the people. Rule-by-gun has no place in today’s world.”
The coup orchestrators have detained Bazoum and dissolved the elected government of Niger, a significant uranium producer and a Western partner in the battle against militant insurgency.
Turk, who urged the prompt release of Bazoum, expressed concern about the Niger coup, which is the sixth occurrence of its kind in the region within the last three years.