News / Africa

    Nigeria Charges 3 Lebanese for Terrorism

    Heather Murdock
    After more than 40 days in jail, three Lebanese men were charged with six counts of terrorism-related crimes in a Nigerian court Wednesday.  The defense argued that the first charge, membership in Hezbollah is not a crime in Nigeria, rendering the rest of the charges baseless. 

    The three men stood on a raised platform stoically while the charges were read into a microphone.  A fourth man accused on similar charges, is “at large”, according to authorities.
     
    To each charge each man quietly replied, “not guilty.”

    First, they were accused of being members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party that has a formidable military.  Hezbollah is also considered a terrorist organization in the United States and Israel. 

    In Nigeria, Hezbollah it is not listed as a terrorist organization but the prosecution says membership is still a criminal act.

    Defense attorney Ahmed Raji said he wants the court to drop all of the charges because it’s not the judiciary’s job to decide how Nigeria wants to view Hezbollah.

    “The court cannot make that decision.  To declare a body as a terrorist organization it has to go through a process under the law.  And we are saying that they have not complied with that.  The government has not made a pronouncement to that effect.  Without that in place there is no way they can sustain the charges,” he said.

    Other charges are more clearly crimes in Nigeria.  The men are accused of receiving training for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack and of failing to disclose information that could lead to the arrest of another person wanted for terrorism. 

    Mustapha Fawaz and Fauzi Fawaz - the man said to be at large - is charged with permitting a meeting “connected with an act of terrorism” at their supermarket, Amigos.  The popular store in the capital has been closed since the arrests, along with an amusement park also owned by the two men.

    Abdullah Tahini is accused of being Hezbollah’s coordinator in Nigeria and of trying to take $61,000 in cash out of Nigeria without declaring it.  The fourth man charged is identified as Talal Roda.

    Outside the courtroom in the lobby, the prosecution declined comment. Reporters asked lawyer Raji about a weapons charge.  The prosecution responded that the men were directly supporting terrorist activity by storing weapons for alleged terrorists.

    The charges did not mention the arms stash found in the northern city of Kano last month that started the whole thing.  Anti-tank weapons, guns, bombs, and other weapons were found under a home belonging to a Lebanese man who is not believed to be in Nigeria right now.  Security forces declared the weapons the property of Hezbollah and arrested four men, including the three who stand accused and a fourth man, Hussain Nurudeen, who was released without being charged. 

    The accused hold both Nigerian and Lebanese citizenship but live and run businesses in Nigeria.  Arrested between May 16 and 28 in northern Nigeria, all three remain in jail. 

    Defense lawyers will request bail at a July 8 hearing and continue to pursue a $19 million lawsuit, saying that until Wednesday, their clients were unlawfully held without charges.

    The prosecution said it will oppose bail due to the seriousness of the charges and for security purposes.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.