Document - Nigeria: Whereabouts of prisoner unknown

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UA: 140/11 Index: AFR 44/008/2011 Nigeria Date: 12 May 2011


URGENT ACTION

WHERABOUTS OF PRISONER UNKNOWN

Aliyu Tasheku has spent over seven months in police detention in Nigeria. He has been complaining of ill health and has been denied access to a doctor. Aliyu Tasheku was last seen on 11 May. He is being held in incommunicado detention and his whereabouts are now unknown. Amnesty International believes he may be at risk of extrajudicial execution.

Aliyu Tasheku was detained by police on 20 September 2010 in Borno state and subsequently transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department, Area 10 police station in Abuja, where he was held in police detention without being charged for over seven months. This is contrary to article 35 of Nigeria's Constitution, which guarantees the right to be brought before a court of law within 24 or 48 hours.

On 28 March 2011, Aliyu Tasheku was granted bail by Chief Magistrate 1 at Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja after lawyers acting on his behalf initiated Habeas Corpus proceedings, challenging the lawfulness of Aliyu Tasheku’s detention and requesting his appearance in court. However, he was not released. Instead, Aliyu Tasheku was transferred back to Maiduguri, Borno state on 4 May, where he remained in police detention at Government Reserved Area (GRA) police station until 11 May.

On 12 May human rights defenders enquiring about Aliyu Tasheku were told by police at GRA police station that he was no longer there. The police refused to disclose his whereabouts saying only that he had been "taken to an unknown place". Aliyu Tasheku is being denied access to anyone outside his place of detention, including his lawyers, doctor, family or friends.



PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

  • Express concern for the safety of Aliyu Tasheku;

  • Demand that the police immediately disclose the whereabouts of Aliyu Tasheku and grant him access to relatives, doctors and lawyers without delay;

  • Demand the police immediately comply with the Order of the Magistrate Court by granting him bail;

  • Call on the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate whether Aliyu Tasheku has been subjected to serious human rights abuses and hold those responsible accountable.




PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 JUNE 2011 TO:

Inspector General of Police
Force Headquarters
Loius Edet House
Shehu Shagari Way
Area 11 Garki

Abuja, Nigeria

Salutation: Dear Inspector General




Borno state Commissioner of Police

GRA Police Station

Shehu Laminu Way

Near Government House

Maiduguri

Borno state. Nigeria

Salutation: Dear Commissioner




And copies to:

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice

Ministry of Justice

New federal secretariat Complex

5th Floor Shehu Shagari Way

PMB 192 Garki

Maitama, Abuja

Nigeria


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

WHERABOUTS OF PRISONER UNKNOWN

ADditional Information

Aliyu Tasheku was granted bail by Chief Magistrate 1 at FCT High Court Abuja on 28 March 2011. Although Aliyu Tasheku was able to satisfy the bail conditions, including the payment of the bail and the provision of a surety, he was not released. Instead Aliyu Tasheku was transferred back to Maiduguri, Borno state on 4 May, where he remained in police detention at GRA police station until 11 May.

On 6 April the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and two other police officers were reportedly served with a notice warning of the consequences of failing to abide by the court order granting bail to Aliyu Tasheku.

On 10 May, the Inspector General of Police and two other police officers were issued with a contempt of court order for failing to abide by the court order and release Aliyu Tasheku on bail.

On 11 May the magistrate reportedly gave the Inspector General of Police one week "to give reasons why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying the court’s orders to release Aliyu Tasheku". The case was adjourned until 18 May.

According to information received by Amnesty International, Tasheku is suspected of being a member of Islamic sect called Boko Haram. Aliyu Tasheku claims he has been acting as a state informant to security agencies on the activities of the group.


The Amnesty International report Killing at will: Extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings in Nigeria found that hundreds each year are killed by Nigeria’s police force. In the first days or weeks following arrest, families are usually allowed to visit their relatives in detention. Later on, the police tell them their loved ones have been “transferred to Abuja”- a euphemism for being killed by the police while in custody.


On other occasions the police simply deny any knowledge of their whereabouts. The families of the victims usually get no justice or redress. Most never even find out what happened to their relatives.




UA: 140/11 Index: AFR 44/008/2011 Issue Date: 12 May 2011

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