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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid