World Bulletin/News Desk
At least 22 senior Nigerian military officers are to be court- martialed in a trial now scheduled for late January, the lawyer representing some of them has confirmed.
"Yes, 22 senior officers are to be tried. I am counsel to some of them," prominent lawyer Femi Falana told The Anadolu Agency on Monday.
He accused the military of detaining the officers in violation of the Nigerian law which forbids detention beyond 24 hours without trial.
"Up till now they have not served us the charges," said Falana.
"Today the case was to have started and they postponed it again till the end of the month without any reason," he fumed.
"They did not even sit at all. No reason was given. No sitting. No charges and they are being detained illegally," added Falana, a prominent Nigerian civil rights advocate who gained fame during the country's military junta for his activism.
"We are going to protest the continued detention to the authorities," he said. "If you are not ready to constitute the court you cannot be detaining people illegally."
The officers to be arraigned, according to a source at the defence headquarters, include brigadier generals, colonels and lieutenants.
"Their offences are closely related to the counterinsurgency operations in the country's northeast," the source, who asked not to be named, told AA.
"Charges are still being fine-tuned and should be ready in the next few days," he added.
The Nigerian military has repeatedly tried soldiers for mutiny, insubordination and other related offences.
At least 66 servicemen have so far been sentenced to death by firing squad.
Several others have been dismissed from the military for alleged cowardice and sundry offences.
For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeast and claimed thousands of lives.
The year 2014 proved to be the insurgency's bloodiest year yet, with increasingly frequent attacks, higher death tolls and a deluge of displaced persons.Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2015, 23:34