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Nigerian Activist Omoyele Sowore Has Finally Been Released from Prison

The journalist and organizer of the #RevolutionNow protests was released Tuesday once the attorney general ordered his release on bail.

Nigerian human rights activist and journalist Omoyele Sowore has been freed from prison Tuesday, Reuters reports.

He was released on bail by the attorney general finally recognizing court orders after the Nigerian government was faced with growing pressure—nationally and internationally.


Sowore, the founder of Sahara Reporters, has been imprisoned since August for organizing the nationwide #RevolutionNow protests on charges of treason, money laundering and harassing the president. Despite appearing in federal court to be released on Dec. 6, he was instead re-arrested following a melee with Nigerian security forces.

"While I am grateful for reports on Yele's long overdue release on bail, my number one concern is for his safety. We remain resolute on Yele being cleared of all baseless charges," spouse Opeyemi Sowore says to Reuters in a statement.

Former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki was also released late Tuesday evening, where he joined his family at his home in Abuja after being in prison since 2015. He was accused of fraud that involved $68 million in defense spending and has pleaded not guilty. Similarly to Sowore, he has been granted bail several times—with the government in turn refusing to release him.

On Dec. 20, six U.S. members of Congress—including Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez—wrote to Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's attorney general and justice minister, stating they were "deeply concerned that established legal procedure and the rule of law were not being followed." Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission also called for the administration to abide by court rulings.

"The two defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land," says Malami in a statement.

In light of Sowore and Dasuki's release, advocacy groups are now demanding for the government to continue to free those unfairly in custody, including another journalist—Agba Jalingo. "The government cannot continue to pick and choose which court orders to obey," Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) says.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Image.

Thousands of Gambians Protest for Former President Yahya Jammeh's Return from Exile

Supporters of the former statesman want the current Gambian government to guarantee his right to return from self-exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Yesterday, thousands of supporters of former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh took to the outskirts of the capital city Banjul. According to Aljazeera, they demanded that the current government under President Adama Barrow guarantee the former statesman's return from exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Jammeh ruled the West African country for over two decades and subsequently lost to Barrow in the national elections back in 2017.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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