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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 18:38 UK

Ill health sees Niger ex-PM freed

Hama Amadou
Hama Amadou has denied accusations of corruption

Niger's former Prime Minister Hama Amadou has been released from prison after being detained for 10 months.

His lawyers secured his release on the grounds of ill health, but he is still to stand trial for corruption.

Mr Amadou is accused of embezzling state funds - charges he says are politically motivated.

He told the BBC he had experienced very austere conditions during his detention and he thought prisons in Niger needed to be more humane.

He was prime minster for seven years before leaving office in 2007 in the midst of a separate corruption scandal.

Mr Amadou had been the favourite to replace President Mamadou Tandja in elections later this year.

The High Court says it will set his trial date - for misappropriating 39m CFA ($79,000) of state funds - when more is known about his health.

Niger is one of the world's poorest countries. It is also a major producer of uranium.



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