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Lawyer: Niger Court Orders Tandja Released

VOA News May 10, 2011

A lawyer for Niger's former president Mamadou Tandja says an appeals court has dropped corruption charges against his client and ordered his release from prison.

Attorney Souley Oumarou told reporters in the capital Niamey Tuesday that his client would be freed soon.

Tandja was ousted in a military coup last year after amending the constitution to extend his rule and expand his powers.

After his ouster, the ruling junta accused the former president of looting the country's coffers of about $125 million since taking office in 1999.

Tandja was charged with misusing public funds and moved to a prison facility in Niamey in January.

During his rule, Niger's uranium sector attracted billions of dollars of investments, but the country remained one of the poorest in the world.

Military rule in Niger came to an end in March, when Mahamadou Issoufou was elected president. He took office last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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