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International rights group calls out arrest of North Jersey journalist in Nigeria
RICARDO KAULESSAR | NORTHJERSEY.COM
13 hours ago
An international human rights organization is raising the alarm about the recent arrest of a North Jersey resident detained in his home country of Nigeria since August 2019.
Journalist and activist Omoyele Sowore of Haworth was released from custody Tuesday after being granted bail by a Nigerian magistrate court judge, according to reports in Nigerian media. As part of his bail, Sowore also must report to court in person pending the determination of his case.
He was arrested on New Year’s Eve along with four other people after a peaceful protest in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Sowore and his fellow protesters were charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public disturbance.
Omoyele "Yele" Sowore, a journalist and social activist who lives in Haworth with his family, held in Nigeria under questionable charges since August 2019, was … Show more
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOWORE FAMILY
The Clooney Foundation for Justice, founded by civil rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband, actor and producer George Clooney, last week called on Nigerian authorities to ensure that “any detention order or prosecution is lawful and not politically motivated” and said it would be monitoring his case closely.
Sowore’s initial arrest in 2019 came after he organized a peaceful pro-democracy protest against the government in Nigeria. He was charged in a Nigerian court with organizing a protest, insulting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and transferring U.S. money to a Nigerian account. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Part of his bail at the time was that he had to remain in Abuja. Since then, Sowore’s trial has been postponed three times. His plight has brought about an uproar from family and friends in Haworth, who have petitioned their representatives in Congress to win his return to the United States.
In an exclusive interview with The Record/NorthJersey.com columnist Mike Kelly in August, Sowore, the father of two children, said he was “constantly monitored and followed by the state security services” and he feared that the government efforts were toward “silencing me permanently.”
Sowore’s wife, Opeyemi, could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for Sen. Bob Menendez, who along with Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Sen. Cory Booker has been advocating for Sowore’s release, said in a recent email to NorthJersey.com:
“Senator Menendez has been increasingly concerned about the atmosphere in Nigeria with regards to security force excesses against protesters. He wrote directly to President Muhammadu Buhari expressing his concerns and urging Buhari’s government to investigate and address what appeared to be state-sanctioned violence against those peacefully protesting police brutality and calling for reforms. The Senator and his office remain in contact with the State Department and embassy regarding Mr. Sowore’s situation.”
Ricardo Kaulessar is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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Thank goodness for CFJ lending weight to Menendez's calls - unbelievable (or maybe not!) that
the State Department doesn't
seem to be too involved in this - but I suspect Pompeo is very busy with diplomatic ties with
Saudi Arabian princes and their oil.........
party animal - not!
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Not to mention that US criticism might seem just a tad hypocritical just about now. Pot/kettle, y'know?
- Zip a dee Clooney!
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Location : NY, USA
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