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Further information on UA 176/92 (AFR 44/07/92, 28 May) - Nigeria: Incommunicado detention of prisoners of conscience / health concern: Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana, Dr Baba Omojola, and new names: Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Olusegun Mayegun

, N° d'index: AFR 44/008/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 44/08/92
Distr: UA/SC
18 June 1992
Further information on UA 176/92 (AFR 44/07/92, 28 May 1992) - Incommunicado detention
of prisoners of conscience/health concern
NIGERIA:
Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, 51, doctor, Chairman of the newly-formed Campaign for Democracy,
President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
Femi Falana, lawyer, member of the Campaign for Democracy, President of the National
Association of Democratic Lawyers
Dr Baba Omojola, economist, member of the Campaign for Democracy
and new names:
Chief Gani Fawehinmi, 54, human rights lawyer, member of the Campaign for Democracy
Olusegun Mayegun, President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)
The five detainees named above have been charged with conspiracy to commit treasonable
felony, an offence punishable by up to life imprisonment. They are alleged to have
"conspired in order to force and compel the government...to change...the transition to
civil rule programme". The Minister of Justice earlier alleged that they had plotted
subversion and exacerbated recent civil unrest. Amnesty International considers them to
be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned for the non-violent expression of their political
views, and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.
Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana and Dr Baba Omojola were arrested in Lagos on 19 May
1992. They were taken 700 kilometres to the new capital in central Nigeria, Abuja, where
they have been held incommunicado. Their families and lawyers have been denied information
about their whereabouts and access to them. The State Security (Detention of Persons)
Decree, No. 2 of 1984, allows the Vice-President to order the indefinite administrative
detention of any person he considers to be a threat to the security of the state or to
the national economy. The courts are specifically precluded from investigating any
detention under the decree. Although, as awaiting trial prisoners, they should be given
full access to lawyers and family, the authorities are reportedly still holding them
incommunicado on the grounds that they are still detained under Decree 2. On these grounds,
detainees in the past have also been denied release on bail to await trial.
Well-known human rights lawyer Chief Gani Fawehinmi and lawyers representing the Civil
Liberties Organisation, a Nigerian human rights group, filed legal actions in an attempt
to enforce the detainees' constitutional rights and to have them produced in person before
the High Court by the authorities. Chief Gani Fawehinmi was himself detained on 29 May
1992 in Lagos and similar legal action was taken to challenge his detention. However,
the government ignored several orders by the Lagos High Court to produce the detainees
in court as well as an order in Femi Falana's case that he should be released because his
detention was "illegal, unconstitutional, null and void".
On 9 June computers and files were stolen from the Campaign for Democracy headquarters.
Olusegun Mayegun was arrested in the early hours of the morning on 11 June at the University
of Lagos campus. On 15 June lawyers in Lagos started to boycott the courts in protest
but the Minister of Justice brought a legal injunction to halt such action.
On 15 June the five detainees were brought before a Magistrate's Court in Gwagwalada, about
30 kilometres from Abuja, and charged. When they appeared in court, both Dr
Ransome-Kuti and Chief Gani Fawehinmi seemed unwell. Chief Gani Fawehinmi, while detained
incommunicado and without charge or trial for four months in 1989, required
Page 2 of FU 176/92
urgent hospital treatment after being held in harsh conditions and denied daily medication
for hypertension and a heart complaint.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters
- expressing concern at the charges of treasonable felony brought against Dr Beko
Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana, Dr Baba Omojola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Olusegun Mayegun;
- explaining that Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience,
imprisoned for the non-violent expression of their political views, and calling for their
immediate and unconditional release;
- expressing concern at reports that, when they appeared in court on 15 June 1992, Dr
Ransome-Kuti and Chief Gani Fawehinmi seemed unwell;
- appealing for assurances that the prisoners are being treated humanely and for them to
be given full access to families and lawyers, to be held in conditions which conform to
international standards and to receive all appropriate medical treatment.
APPEALS TO:
1) General Ibrahim Babangida Salutation: Dear Mr President
President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
State House, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: President Babangida, Lagos, Nigeria
Telexes: 21444 or 21236 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
2) Admiral (Retd) Augustus Aikhomu Salutation: Dear Admiral Aikhomu
Vice-President
State House
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Vice-President Aikhomu, Lagos, Nigeria
Telexes: 21444 or 21236 EXTNAL NG (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
3) Mr Clement Akpamgbo Salutation: Dear Minister
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
Telegrams: Minister of Justice Akpamgbo, Lagos, Nigeria
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Major-General (Retd) Ike O.S. Nwachukwu
Minister of External Affairs
Ministry of External Affairs
Maputo Street
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory
Nigeria and to any of the following newspapers:
Daily Times, PMB 21340, Ikeja, Lagos,
Nigeria
The Punch, PMB 21204, Ikeja, Lagos,
Nigeria
The Guardian, PMB 1217, Oshodi, Lagos,
Nigeria
Vanguard, PMB 1007, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria
Newswatch, PMB 21499, Ikeja, Lagos,
Nigeria
and to: Campaign for Democracy, PO Box 7247, 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 30 July 1992.

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