Communiqué de presse d'ASF France au Nigeria : "ASF France enforces the fundamental rights of tortured detainees"

ASF France enforces the fundamental human rights of tortured detainees 

"The absence of a law criminalizing torture makes it extremely difficult for the perpetrators of the crime to be held accountable." Angela Uwandu 

As part of its efforts in eradicating torture in Nigeria, Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), successfully enforced the fundamental human rights of three victims of torture in Kaduna state. The victims are beneficiaries of ASF France’s pro bono legal aid on the platform of the “Promoting the United Nations Convention against torture project” in Nigeria (ProCAT).

The cases of Isaiah Sunday, Halima Umaru and Babangida Na’ado were all handled between the months of October and December 2014. Isaiah Sunday was arrested on charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and armed robbery. He was detained at the Sabon Tasha Divisional headquarters in Sabon Gari, Kaduna and then later transferred to the Kaduna State Criminal Investigation Department (CID). 

At the Sabon Tasha Police station, severe acts of torture and inhuman treatments were meted out on him. This included being deprived of food and water for three days and being brutally beaten with a metal rod with specific attention paid to his ankles, waist and his knees. At the Kaduna state CID, he was intermittently beaten with a baton, gora and an iron rod. The incident left him with three deep gouges on his thigh.

ASF France tendered an application on Mr Isaiah’s behalf citing the violation of his fundamental human rights. His entitlement to the respect for the dignity of his person and his right not to be subjected to torture as contained in section 34(1) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria was clearly breached by state actors in the police force. Secondly, ASF France also contended that he was remanded in prison custody far beyond the dictates of the law. In addition, he was arraigned before the chief magistrate court which had no jurisdiction to try the matter.

In a judgment delivered by the Kaduna state high court, the acts of torture and inhuman treatment meted out on Isaiah were deemed as unlawful and unconstitutional. His prolonged stay in prison without trial was also described as a violation of his fundamental rights. He was granted bail and awarded damages for the violation of his rights. He has since been released from prison.

 Similarly, the case of Halima Umaru, who was charged with culpable homicide, elicited a favourable outcome after an application for the violation of her fundamental human rights was filed before a Kaduna state high court by ASF France. Halima was arrested by the Police at Hunkuyi in Kaduna state where she was stripped to her underwear and physically beaten with a baton and whip. 

At the Kaduna state CID where she was later transferred, she was bullied into admitting that she was 18 years old, despite the fact that she was 15 years. The court ruled that the actions of the respondents were unconstitutional and illegal. The sum of 2 million naira was awarded as damages for the violation of her fundamental human rights.

The third victim, Babangida, Na’ado was arrested in 2010 on alleged charges of Criminal conspiracy and armed robbery. He was taken into police custody and later transferred to Jaji cantonment where he was cruelly beaten with sticks until he lost all sensation of pain in a bid to get him to admit to stealing 3 phones and N10, 000.  Babandiga was then transferred to the Kaduna state CID where he was viciously whipped with a cable wire for two days for refusing to append his thumb print to confessional statements prepared for him. 

He was also deprived of food and water for three days. Babangida was unconditionally released from prison after ASF France filed an application on his behalf enforcing his fundamental human rights. He had been in prison from 2010 to 2014 without charges being brought against him.

Commenting on the case, Angela Uwandu, Head of Office, ASF France stated that;

“The terrain for enforcing fundamental human rights in Nigeria is far from ideal by international human rights standards especially as it pertains to torture. The absence of a law criminalizing torture makes it extremely difficult for the perpetrators of the crime to be held accountable especially in light of the fact that some of these crimes are committed by security agents“What international human rights laws afford us is the opportunity to place that inalienable and universal value on human life so that the respect for the rule of law as it relates to all other rights proceeding comes with ease.”

ASF France’s ProCAT project is being implemented in Kaduna, Plateau and Enugu states and is funded by the United Nations voluntary funds for victims of torture, Betto Seraglini for International Justice, Allen & Overy Foundation and the Cabinet of the French Prime Minister. It has recorded considerable success in obtaining redress before the courts for victims of torture since 2009.   


For further enquiries please contact: ASF France Nigeria Office - 29, 1st Avenue, Kado Estate, Abuja. Telephone – (+234) 0806 663 40 44)

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