Niger to evacuate imprisoned opposition leader over illness

Niger to shift jailed opposition leader to hospital for treatment over health issue

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man gets a haircut and a shave in front of a campaign poster of incarcerated opposition candidate Hama Amadou in Niamey, Niger.

A government official in Niger said late on Monday, authorities will attempt to evacuate jailed opposition leader Hama Amadou to a hospital in the capital who will compete against President Mahamadou Issoufou in a Sunday run-off election, due to a health problem.

Amadou a former president of parliament speaker finished second to Issoufou in the first round of polling last month.  

He was accused of having connection with a baby-trafficking scandal in November but denies the charges against him and says they are politically motivated.

His supporters claim he has suffered from ill health during the time he has been jailed in the town of Filingue, around 180 km (112 miles) northeast of the capital Niamey.

Dr Idrissa Maiga Mahamadou, spokesman for the health ministry in Niger said, four specialist were sent to Filingue on Monday to assess his health.

"No one is opposed to his evacuation. The specialists went there to stabilise him first, before considering evacuating him ... Once he is in a condition to travel, he will be evacuated," Mahamadou said, speaking on state television.

Earlier on Monday, Amadou’s own doctor said that the opposition leader had already lost consciousness once before being revived in the prison hospital.

A court is expected to hold a new hearing for his provisional release on Monday, the day after the run-off vote.

In April 2011, President Issoufou was elected into office following a popular coup that toppled previous leader Tandja Mamadou.

Opposition and critics have accused him of becoming increasingly authoritarian and clamping down dissent. 

TRTWorld, Reuters