NIAMEY (Reuters) – A Niger appeal court in Niamey gave a criminal court the go-ahead for a child-trafficking case involving the former head of the national assembly, his wife and some 30 other members of the political and social elite, who might now face long jail terms.
Hama Amadou, who fled to France in August and has protested his innocence, was a political ally of President Mahamadou Issoufou until 2013 and has emerged as a potential opposition challenger in the 2016 presidential election.
Amadou left Niger before he could be questioned but his wife and the others have been charged with falsely claiming parenthood of about 30 babies born to women in Nigeria for the sole purpose of being sold to wealthy couples in Niger.
The opposition says the case is politically motivated.
In January, a criminal court judge threw out the case, saying it was a civil matter.
Those accused have five days to appeal the court’s decision, according to a statement from the appeal court, which also rejected a request to annul an arrest warrant for Amadou.