News / Africa

Nigeria Files Fresh Charges Against Lebanese Accused of Terrorism

Military officials stand near ammunitions seized from suspected members of Hezbollah after a raid of a building in Kano, Nigeria, May 30, 2013.
Military officials stand near ammunitions seized from suspected members of Hezbollah after a raid of a building in Kano, Nigeria, May 30, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Three Lebanese men imprisoned in Nigeria have been accused of "terrorism-related" crimes after previous charges were dismissed last week on a technicality. The three are suing the government for nearly $19 million on the grounds of unlawful imprisonment, while lawyers are trying to negotiate the release of a fourth man who was arrested.

The four men of Lebanese nationality were arrested between May 16 and May 28 in northern Nigeria, and have been in police custody ever since.

But defense attorney Robert Clarke argues that when prosecutors charged his clients in a court that had no jurisdiction over terrorism-related crimes, they essentially were not charging the men at all.

He says in Nigeria it is illegal to jail people for an unreasonable period of time without charging them with a crime.    

“They have been arrested for the period of almost 40 days, in breach of the constitutional provisions of Nigeria that accused persons can only be held in detention without lawful escapes not more than 48 hours,” Clarke said.

Last week, defense lawyers argued that all four men should receive more than $6 million each in damages for unlawful imprisonment.  

On Monday, lawyers agreed to negotiate for the release of one of the accused, Hussain Nurudeen, and said he will not be suing.  Clarke says the prosecution has already filed fresh “terrorism-related” charges against his other three clients in the Federal High Court, but an arraignment date has not been set.  
 
Prosecutor Clifford Osagie declined to comment on the details of the charges, but the men have previously been accused of being the owners of a massive stash of heavy artillery found in northern Nigeria, including anti-tank weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.  Many of the weapons appeared to be severely corroded and others were covered in rust.  Defense lawyers say the men neither own those weapons nor know who does.

Clarke says he does not yet have details of the charges, but says the three men will be suing regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes.

“We are asking the court that despite and in spite of anything we are still entitled to damages,” Clarke said.

The four Lebanese men have been accused of being members of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese political party and militant group that is considered a terrorist organization in the United States.  
 
But another defense lawyer, Ahmed Raji, says being a member of Hezbollah is not a crime in Nigeria because it is not legally considered a terrorist organization in the country.  He says the men have not been accused of conducting actual attacks.
 
“The accusation is possession of weapons to be used for terrorist activity, that is all,” Raji said.
 
The accused are all long-time residents of Nigeria and prominent businessmen in the capital and the northern city of Kano.  Some analysts say the arrests are a sign of Iran and Hezbollah’s growing interest in using the chaos in West Africa as a staging ground for attacks against the United States and Israel.

Others disagree, saying increasing reports could mean increased fear mongering, and not an actual trend.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid