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SERAP drags FG before UN over Sowore, others in detention

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over the arbitrary detention of SaharaReporters publisher, Omoyole Sowore, and four other activists by the Federal Government.

The right group also included in its complaints the arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment of Sowore and four other activists simply for peacefully exercising their human rights.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, urged the UN working group to request the Nigerian authorities to withdraw its charges against Sowore and four other activists, and ensure their unconditional release.

Oluwadare, through the complaint dated 4 January 2021, and sent to the group, argued that the detention of the activists constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of their liberty since it has no legal justification, adding that such does not meet minimum international standards of due process.

According to him, their detention is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 (as amended) and international human rights law which should not stand.

“SERAP is calling on the Working Group to initiate a procedure involving the investigation of the detention, torture and bogus charges against Sowore and four other activists, and to urgently send an allegation letter to the Nigerian government inquiring about the case generally, and specifically about the legal basis for their arrest, detention, torture and other ill-treatment, each of which is in violation of international human rights law.

“SERAP is also urging the Working Group to issue an opinion declaring that the deprivation of liberty and detention of Sowore and four other activists is arbitrary and in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution and obligations under international human rights law. We also urge the Working Group to call for their immediate and unconditional release.

“We urge the Working Group to request the Nigerian government to investigate and hold accountable all police officers and security agents suspected to be responsible for the unlawful arrest, continued detention, and torture and other ill-treatment of Sowore and four other activists.

“SERAP is also calling on the Working Group to request the Nigerian government to award Sowore and four other activists adequate compensation for the violations they have suffered as a result of their unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment,” the complaint addressed to Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez Chairman, Rapporteur of the Working Group, read in part.

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