Nigerian NGO seeks UN action over mass death sentences

52 soldiers have been sentenced to death after being found guilty of mutiny

Nigerian NGO seeks UN action over mass death sentences

World Bulletin/News Desk

A Nigerian NGO has sought intervention by the UN to stop the execution of dozens of army soldiers recently convicted of mutiny by a secret court martial.

"The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has been in discussion with Johel Dominique at the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions both on the telephone and via email," the NGO executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni said in a statement on Sunday.

"Dominique has confirmed that Special Rapporteur [Christof Heyns] is considering appropriate action to avert the imminent execution of 54 soldiers on death row in the country," he added.

On December 17, a Nigerian court martial sentenced 52 soldiers to death after being found guilty of attempted mutiny, an offence that attracts death penalty in the military.

The prosecutor said the convicts committed the offence on August 4 in Maiduguri, the provincial capital of Nigeria's restive northeastern Borno State, after they refused orders to deploy for an operation intended to recapture towns taken by Boko Haram militants.

For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeastern region and claimed thousands of lives.

The year 2014 has proved to be the insurgency's bloodiest, with increasingly frequent attacks, higher death tolls and a deluge of displaced persons.

The Nigerian NGO said "it is not right or fair to try everyone in mass proceedings, and that such unfair trial should not send someone to the gallows."

"The imposition of mass death sentences is in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is a party," it insisted.

According to the NGO, Heyns is considering appropriate action, including communication to President Goodluck Jonathan, regarding the imminent execution of the soldiers.

"[We] welcome the decision by Heyns to intervene in the matter," said Mumuni.

"Given his longstanding human rights commitment and achievements, we have absolutely no doubt that Heyns will work assiduously to ensure that justice is done in this matter," he added.


Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2015, 14:23
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