The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it has sent a complaint to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Saharareporters, and four other activists for protesting on New Year’s eve.
The former presidential candidate had earlier called for a peaceful crossover procession to demand an end to bad governance and insecurity plaguing the country.
He and others were arrested at Gudu junction in Abuja during the protest tagged #CrossoverWithProtest, and were subsequently detained at Abattoir police station.
It was reported that Sowore and other activists were almost done with the procession when they were arrested.
In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, the group demanded the release of the detained activists and a probe into their arrest and detention.
“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,” SERAP said.
“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.”
“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 Mr Sowore and four other activists.”
The organisation also wants the Federal Government to award Sowore and four other activists compensation “for the violations they suffered as a result of their unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment.”
Sowore was also arrested on August 3, 2019, when men of the Department of State Security Services stormed his house for calling for a protest. He went on to spend over 100 days in custody despite different court orders for his release.
He was accused of planning to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari and arraigned for crimes bordering on money laundering, treason.
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