General Souleymane Salou, who had been accused of involvement in a coup attempt against President Mahamadou Issoufou in December 2015, has been granted release from prison. In his initial trial in 2018, the former Chief of Staff was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
The recent appellate judgment, delivered on October 24 in Niamey, is expected to lead to the imminent release of the 70-year-old general, as reported by an associate contacted by AFP. Salou had been apprehended in December 2015, alongside other military personnel and approximately ten civilians.
The government at the time asserted that it had uncovered “compelling evidence” of a coup attempt in 2015 against President Mahamadou Issoufou. This evidence allegedly included exchanged text messages listing individuals to be “eliminated” and a plan to bomb the presidential palace.
The coup attempt unfolded during the midst of the 2016 presidential election campaign, just two months ahead of the first round of the election in which President Mahamadou Issoufou sought a second term.
During the 2018 trial, the court found the military personnel guilty of plotting “against the security of the state.” General Souleymane Salou, however, had vehemently defended himself with the assistance of his legal counsel.
Subsequently, he had been serving a 15-year prison sentence in an inland facility. Before these events, between 2010 and 2011, Salou held the position of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces during the junta that ousted President Mamadou Tandja.