As the mass trial of Boko Haram suspects on terrorism-related charges commences in Nigeria, Amnesty International Nigeria has said justice will remain a mirage for the suspects unless they get fair trials from the Nigerian authorities.
In a press statement issued by Isa Sanusi, Media Manager, Amnesty International Nigeria, the Director, Osai Ojigho was also quoted as saying that the trials should provide a much-needed opportunity to deliver justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members.
”However, the fact the trials are taking place behind closed doors, with no access for the media or the public, raises huge concerns. Public hearings are crucial for protecting an individual’s right to a fair trial and due process.
“The Nigerian authorities must ensure that all fair trial rights are respected. Defendants must have access to lawyers and interpreters if required, and that witnesses and victims are protected from potential reprisals.
“In instances where no prima facie case has been established, as is reportedly the situation in some of the cases, detainees should be immediately released,” the global outfit said.
Amnesty International has repeatedly documented how thousands of people have been rounded up in mass arbitrary arrests with little or no evidence and held in detention for years.
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