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.