Drop Charges Against Sowore, AI Urges Buhari
Global rights group, Amnesty International, has lambasted the Federal government for charging Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, with treason for insulting the President.
AI, in a series of tweets on Saturday described the move as dictatorial and unwarranted.
It called on the government to immediately release him and drop all the charges.
It said “Amnesty International condemns the bizarre charges pressed on activist Omoyele for expressing his views in media interviews.
“The trumped up charges he is facing show an attempt by the Nigerian authorities to deprive him of his human rights.
“Sowore’s continued incarceration on application of the Terrorism Act for exercising his right to freedom of expression is a misuse of the criminal system to silence dissent.
“We call on the Nigerian authorities to respect and protect human rights of all persons without discrimination and ensure that it does not use its laws to justify violations of Sowore’s human rights.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State legal team of the Africa Action Congress has called for the immediate release of Sowore from the custody of the Department of State Services.
A statement signed by the Head of Legal Team of the AAC, Tope Akinyode, and made available to Sunday PUNCH, said
“The ex parte order upon which the DSS is granted permission to withhold Sowore for 45 days negates the fundamental principle of fair hearing and the ex parte order has since been challenged before the court.
‘‘However, in the prevailing circumstances, need has arisen for the DSS to let go of Sowore before today runs to an end.”
It also stated that it was not aware that the defendant was remanded in prison by any court order on September 20, adding that in criminal matters, pending when bail application is made on behalf of a defendant, he may be temporarily remanded by a court.
The legal team said, “The defendant (Sowore) was not remanded by court order on (Friday). However, the 45-day court order upon which the DSS has continuously held on to him expires on (Saturday), 21 September, 2019.
“Based on the foregoing, we hereby call on the DSS to release Omoyele Sowore from their facilities with immediate effect. We submit that the DSS lacks the judicial, statutory or constitutional jurisdiction to further withhold Sowore any moment from today (Saturday) and it would amount to a rape on the Nigerian Constitution if the DSS refuses to release Sowore today.”
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