As the mass trial of Boko Haram suspects on terrorism-related charges continues in Nigeria, Amnesty International Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho, has stated that unless Boko Haram suspects get fair trials, justice would be impossible.
“These trials should provide a much-needed opportunity to deliver justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members. However, the fact that the trials are taking place behind closed doors, with no access to the media or the public, raises huge concerns. Public hearings are crucial for protecting an individual’s right to a fair trial and due process.”
“The Nigerian authorities must ensure that all fair trial rights are respected. Defendants must have access to lawyers and interpreters if required, and that witnesses and victims are protected from potential reprisals.”
Amnesty International has repeatedly documented how thousands of people have been rounded up in mass arbitrary arrests with little or no evidence and held in detention for years.
“In instances where no prima facie case has been established, as is reportedly the situation in some of the cases, detainees should be immediately released.”