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Niger's court of appeals says it will not provisionally release an opposition candidate from prison to participate in February elections

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BAMAKO, Mali — Niger's court of appeals says it will not provisionally release from prison an opposition candidate so that he can campaign for February presidential elections

Niger's former head of the National Assembly, Hama Amadou, fled Niger in August 2014 when Niger ruled his parliamentary immunity would not save him from being questioned over a baby-trafficking scandal that rattled Niger's political class. He lived in Burkina Faso and France in exile

Amadou's lawyer Boubacar Mossi said the charges were politically motivated, because he was a rival to Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Amadou returned to Niger in November and was arrested. He filed for provisional release to run in the elections.

Judge Ibrahim Harouna on Monday denied his appeal.

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