News / Africa

Nigeria Charges 3 Lebanese for Terrorism

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid