FG Should Stop Subjecting Sowore To Media Trial – Falana
Counsel to Mr Omoyele Sowore and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has asked the Federal Government to stop subjecting his client to a media trial.
Mr Falana said it is embarrassing that the Federal Government which has found it difficult to prove its case in a competent court of law has resorted to the media trial of Sowore.
The rights activist said, even though the government has failed to engage in the diligent prosecution of the serious case, the Presidency has resorted to media trial while the charge of treasonable felony is allowed to hang menacingly on the heads of his clients.
Reacting to a statement by a presidential spokesperson, Mr. Garba Shehu claiming that “Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria,” Mr Falana said he and his team are not going to be tempted to join issues with the Presidency over a case that is pending before a properly constituted court of law.
He said if the Presidency is so sure that his clients committed a treasonable felony or any other offence whatsoever it should keep its powder dry and advise the prosecution to commence the trial without any further delay.
Falana said it is common knowledge that Sowore and Bakare are not among the well-known merchants of violence and coup plotters that had successfully but illegally removed democratically elected governments in Nigeria his team is not going to join issues with Mr Garba Shehu over the highly contemptuous statements credited to him.
The Senior Advocate, however, argued that as a senior journalist Mr Shehu ought to have known that it is highly unprofessional to subject a man who is held incommunicado to scurrilous attacks in the media.
The lawyer stated that he is convinced that Sowore will have a right to reply once the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people are restored.
He noted that even though the allegations of terrorism and treasonable felony against Sowore had collapsed like a pack of cards the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN engaged in a face-saving measure by charging him (Sowore) and Olawale Bakare with a treasonable felony for planning to organise public protests against the Buhari administration.
Speaking further, Falana said that while not sure that the charge of a treasonable felony would succeed in the court the AGF proceeded to charge Sowore with money laundering and cyberstalking for allegedly insulting President Buhari in a television interview.
He stressed that while Sowore and his co-defendant have been held in custody even after being granted bails by competent courts, the organisers of the public protests which were held in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Cross River and Osun states who were charged with unlawful assembly, but have been discharged and the case dismissed following the no-case submission of the defence counsel, Mr Effiong Inibehe.
According to Mr Falana, the defendants in the other cases have been granted bail pending trial by the various Magistrate Courts.
“Having met the bail conditions they have regained their freedom,” he added.
He expressed optimism that his clients will also soon regain their freedom, stressing that his team is considering several legal actions following the rearrest.
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