SERAP Drags FG To UN Over Detention, Torture Of Sowore, Others

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent “an urgent complaint to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over the arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of journalist Omoyele Sowore and four other activists simply for peacefully exercising their human rights.”

RevolutionNow had reported the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Adenola, Peter Williams and Emmanuel Bulus on New Year’s Eve in Abuja and subsequently taken to the default SARS office popularly known as ‘Abbatoir’ in the Lokogoma area of the FCT.

On Monday, the police had arraigned them to a magistrate court in Wuse zone 2, Abuja where a ruling to be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre was made pending the condiration of their bail applications on Tuesday (today).

SERAP in a statement on Tuesday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the complaint was sent to the UN body on Monday, January 4.

The statement reads in part: “The Working Group should request the Nigerian authorities to withdraw the bogus charges against Mr Sowore and four other activists, and to immediately and unconditionally release them.

“The detention of Omoyele Sowore and four other activists constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of their liberty because it does not have any legal justification. The detention also does not meet minimum international standards of due process.”

“The arrest, continued detention and torture and ill-treatment of Mr Sowore and four other activists solely for peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 (as amended) and international human rights law. They are now facing bogus charges simply for exercising their human rights.”

The organisation is calling on the Working Group to “initiate a procedure involving the investigation of the detention, torture and bogus charges against Mr 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 Mr 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.”

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