Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s deposed President, faces ‘high treason’ charge

NIAMEY, Niger − The military junta that seized power in Niger said it plans to prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for “high treason” and undermining state security, an announcement that came hours after the mutinous officers said they were open to dialogue with West African nations to resolve the regional crisis.

If convicted, Bazoum could face the death penalty, according to Niger’s penal code.

A spokesperson for the junta, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, said on state television that the military regime had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute before competent national and international authorities the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices.”

The Sunday night announcement said Bazoum was being charged following his post-coup exchanges with high-ranking West African politicians and “their international mentors,” whom the leaders of the revolt accuse of making false allegations and attempting to derail a peaceful transition in order to justify a military intervention.

The statement did not identify specific foreign nations and did not specify a date for the trial of Niger’s democratically elected president.

Still, on the streets of the capital on Monday, some residents told The Associated Press they believe Bazoum is guilty. “Crimes for high treason is really what he deserves because this man betrayed Niger by stealing all of Niger’s resources,” Niamey resident Assan Zakite said.

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