Niamey - Judges in Niger said on Sunday that a top minister was "meddling" in a high profile baby trafficking case allegedly involving a prominent opposition leader and presidential aspirant.
The Independent Magistrates Union of Niger said it "denounced the silence" of President Mahamadou Issoufou surrounding minister Bazoum Mohamed's comments on the case against ex-premier and former national assembly head Hama Amadou.
Mohamed, who is also head of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), told Jeune Afrique news magazine this week that he did not see how Amadou could "escape conviction".
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He said the former leader took advantage of the court's "complicities" at the beginning of the trial.
Two weeks ago Amadou, who is running for president, was arrested on his return from a year in exile in France over allegations of baby trafficking.
The judges union denounced Mohamed for "insulting" and aiming to "discredit" the judicial body in the interview, as well as putting into question the integrity of the magistrates.