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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid