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Further information on UA 320/90 (AFR 44/13/90, 3 August and follow-up AFR 44/01/91, 9 January) - Nigeria: death penalty: Augustine Eke, Kiki Francis, Isa Garuba, Mohammed Garuba, Saidu Garuba, Oluwole Jitrey, Mohammed Ibrahim (died 1990), Kabiru Mohammed

, Index number: AFR 44/010/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 44/10/92
Distr: UA/SC
13 July 1992
Further information on UA 320/90 (AFR 44/13/90, 3 August 1990) and follow-up AFR
44/01/91, 9 January 1991 - Death penalty
NIGERIA:Augustine Eke
Kiki Francis
Isa Garuba
Mohammed Garuba
Saidu Garuba
Oluwole Jitrey
Mohammed Ibrahim (died 1990)
Kabiru Mohammed
Shaibu Mohasu (please note corrected spelling)
Awuji Roshe
Mohammed Sani
Jubril Sumaila
On 30 June 1992 the Commissioner (minister) for Justice in Lagos State announced
that the death sentences imposed on the above 12 young men in June 1988 had been
commuted to 10 years' imprisonment. They will be due for release in September 1994.
One of them, Augustine Eke, was aged 14 at the time of his arrest in 1984. In December
1990 one of the 12, Mohammed Ibrahim, died of pulmonary tuberculosis in prison.
Amnesty International welcomes the commutations, particularly in view of the
officially-expressed doubts previously made within the Department of Justice about
the fairness of the convictions.
The defendants were convicted by a special court, a Robbery and Firearms Tribunal
in Ikeja, Lagos State. These special tribunals were reinstated following a military
coup in Nigeria in 1983 and do not allow the right of appeal to the Court of Appeal
and the Supreme Court which had been restored during the period of civilian rule
from 1979 to 1983.
In the process of another return to civilian rule, due to be completed in January
1993, elected civilian State Governors took office in January 1992. Until that time,
the Military Governor of Lagos State had refused to commute the death sentences in
this case or to initiate any judicial review of the convictions despite the advice
previously given by Lagos State's own Justice Department. The view of the Director
of Legal Services in 1988 was that "the whole trial was full of procedural
irregularities and overt bias against the convicts", and that "the evidence of the
identification of the defendants should have been summarily rejected by the tribunal
as it was a complete sham." "I have no doubt in my mind", he concluded, "that if
this case were to come before an appellate court, it would succeed, the conviction
would be overturned and a verdict of acquittal substituted."
Initially 15 defendants had been brought to trial. The two main suspects claimed
they had been beaten and threatened with death by the police, and that they had been
forced to identify the other defendants under duress; they were deported to
neighbouring Benin in an exchange of prisoners before the end of the trial and were
therefore not among those convicted. Another suspect, Alkasu Mamunan, died in prison
during the trial. The remaining 12 were convicted primarily on the basis of
identification evidence which appeared to have been improperly obtained. In evidence
before the tribunal, Augustine Eke said he was identified - along with nine other
youths, cobblers and shoeshine boys - by a suspect already in police custody at a
garage where he had gone to buy shoelaces. He said that they were beaten by police
and forced to make statements under duress. However, apart from this identification,
there was apparently no other evidence against Augustine Eke and he maintained his
innocence throughout.
Page 2 of 2FU 320/90
[Previous actions were issued on this case - UA 197/88 (AFR 44/21/88) of 29 July
1988 and follow-ups AFR 44/30/88 of 10 November 1988 and AFR 44/05/89 of 10 March
1989]
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send airmail letters
- welcoming the State Governor's commutation of the death sentences imposed on
Augustine Eke and 11 others in June 1988 by the Robbery and Firearms Tribunal in
Ikeja, Lagos State;
- noting that these commutations are particularly welcome in view of the
officially-expressed doubts previously made within the Department of Justice about
the fairness of the convictions;
- asking if and when the allegations of ill-treatment by the police made by the accused
in this case will be thoroughly investigated, in view of the possibility that the
defendants might have been convicted on the basis of statements made under duress;
- seeking assurances, in view of the deaths of Alkasu Mamunan and Mohammed Ibrahim,
that the remaining prisoners in this case are receiving adequate food and medical
care in accordance with international standards for the treatment of prisoners.
APPEALS TO:
1) Sir Michael Otedola Salutation: Dear Governor
State Governor
State House, Broad Street
POB 12637
10100 Lagos, Nigeria
2) Mrs Latifat M. Okunnu Salutation: Dear Deputy Governor
Deputy Governor
State House, Broad Street
POB 12637
10100 Lagos, Nigeria
3) Mr Yomi Osikoya Salutation: Dear Attorney General
Attorney General and Commissioner
for Justice
Secretariat Alausa
Ikeja, 10100 Lagos
Nigeria
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Mr Clement Akpamgbo
Attorney-General of the Federation
and Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
and any of the following newspapers:
Daily Times, PMB 21340, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
National Concord, POB 4483, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
The Guardian, PMB 1217, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria
Newswatch, PMB 21499, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
and to diplomatic representatives of NIGERIA in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 24 August 1992.

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