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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid