FIDH and CLO call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to pressure authorities to restore the moratorium

28/06/2013
Press release
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FIDH and its member organisation in Nigeria, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), vehemently condemn the 24 June 2013 executions and call on Nigerian authorities to immediately halt further executions.

The hanging of four inmates sentenced to death on the night of 24 June 2013 puts an end to the de facto moratorium on enforcing the death penalty, which has existed in this country since 2006. A fifth man is expected to be executed by the end of the week by a firing squad. He was on the gallows with the four other prisoners when the authorities of Benin City prison in Edo State realised he was to be executed by another method under the terms of his conviction by a military court.

"Our organisations denounce the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty and the extreme brutality of this execution. We urge national authorities to desist from carrying out further executions and to respect the rights of convicted persons to a fair trial. ", said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

FIDH and CLO consider the application of the death penalty to be not only cruel and inhuman treatment, but that it occurred in violation of all internationally recognised standards, including the right to a fair trial. Further, Edo’s prosecutor and prison authorities have not complied with the appeal of the executions filed a few hours before the execution order. Neither the condemned persons nor their families were notified of the imminent executions. The fifth man, whose execution is pending, failed to appeal his death sentence pronounced 17 years ago as military courts did not recognise the rights of the condemned to appeal conviction at the time.

Earlier this year, President Jonathan had encouraged governors to resume executions.

"By abstaining from the vote by the General Assembly of the United Nations resolution in favour of the moratorium on the death penalty in December 2012, and by breaking the established de facto moratorium in effect since 2006, Nigeria is going against the current trend towards the abolition of the death penalty, "said Ibuchukwu Ezike, CLO Executive Director.

Nearly 1,000 inmates are currently on death row in Nigeria. FIDH and CLO calls on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in particular its Working Group on the issue of the death penalty, to address this situation, and further calls Nigerian authorities to restore the moratorium in accordance with resolution ACHPR/Res.136 (XXXXIIII).08 adopted in 2008.

FIDH opposes the death penalty for all crimes and under all circumstances, and actively works with its member organisations for its universal abolition.

The death penalty is inhumane treatment. FIDH has also shown that the death penalty is usually imposed after unfair trials and that its application is often discriminatory. FIDH recalls that the alleged deterrent effect of the death penalty has never been proved.

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