News / Africa

Nigerian Court Denies Bail to Hezbollah Suspects

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
Federal High Court in Abuja has refused bail for three Lebanese-Nigerian men accused of stockpiling weapons and plotting terrorist attacks for Hezbollah, and ordered that properties including a popular supermarket and an amusement park in the Nigerian capital remain sealed for investigation.
 
Judge Adeniyi Ademola Adetokunbo said Mustapha Fawaz, Abdullah Tahini and Talal Roda would remain locked up in "the interest of national security" but promised to begin the trial soon in the interest of protecting their rights. The men have been locked up for nearly two months and recently filed a $19 million unlawful detention suit against the government.
 
After the ruling, the detainees appeared stoic as they conferred with family members who looked disappointed. All three are long-time residents of Nigeria, Fawaz is the co-owner of Abuja's shuttered Amigos Supermarket and Wonderland Park.
 
Prosecutor Simon Egede opposed bail on the grounds that the men, arrested in May on charges of directly supporting Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party that has a powerful militia, posed a flight risk.
 
“We believe that the cases are very serious in nature," said Egede. "We have fears that they can escape, that they can run away because of their dual citizenships."
 
The prosecution said Tahini was arrested at an airport in May carrying $61,000 in undeclared cash — funds allegedly designated to support Hezbollah — and that he is group’s coordinator in Nigeria.
 
While Nigerian prosecutors call Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as do the U.S. and Israel, the defense says Hezbollah is not recognized as a terrorist organization in Nigeria or most of the rest of the world.
 
Defense attorney Ahmed Raji has said he plans to ask the court to drop all the charges based on the fact that Hezbollah membership is not a crime in Nigeria.
 
The only evidence made public so far is a stash of weapons discovered under a house in the northern city of Kano, which included 21 rocket-propelled grenade, nine pistols and 17 Ak-47 rifles. Many of the weapons, which prosecutors called “enough to sustain a civil war in Nigeria,” appeared to be too old and corroded to use.
 
Defense attorney Ahmed Raji did not dispute the prosecution’s claim that the weapons posed a serious threat, but that they do not belong to his clients.
 
"They’re not the owners of the arms and the premises on which they were found belongs to another person entirely," he insisted.
 
Prosecutors have submitted an affidavit that says they have further evidence to support the charges, including witnesses. The trial is set to begin on July 29.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid