Hama Amadou, a major opposition figure approved to stand in Niger’s February elections just two days ago, failed on Monday in an attempt to gain release from prison in a plea to the country’s appeals court.
President Mahamadou Issoufou, a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy in the fragile Sahara region, is expected to win a second term; but critics accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, especially after uncovering what he described as an aborted coup in December.
Amadou, a one-time ally to the president, was jailed in November for alleged complicity in a baby trafficking ring upon return from a year-long exile. He has publicly denied the charges, which he says are politically motivated. Read more