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One year after his arrest, Amnesty International asks FG to set Sowore free

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Amnesty International on Monday urged the Buhari government to drop all charges brought against publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and restore all his rights as guaranteed by Nigerian and international laws.

The group made the call in a Twitter post on Monday to mark one year of Sowore’s arrest by agents of the Department of State Services.

Amnesty International on November 20, 2019 designated Sowore as prisoner of conscience following his detention and unfair trial for exercising his right to protest.

The rights group said President Muhammadu Buhari should stop using security agents and judiciary as a tool for persecuting people, who voice dissenting opinions, challenge abuse and call for accountability.

The organisation said, “Today marks exactly a year after Nigerian authorities unlawfully detained Omoyele Sowore.

“He was put through an unfair trial based on bogus charges. In November 2019 we declared him a Prisoner of Conscience; who was deprived of his rights solely for exercising freedom of expression.

“We are again calling on Nigerian authorities to drop all charges against Omoyele Sowore and restore all his rights guaranteed by Nigerian and international law.”

Sowore was arrested in Lagos for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets to demand better governance from the administration of President Buhari.

He was kept in unlawful detention from that period until December 5, 2019 when he was finally released on bail despite two court orders earlier sanctioning his freedom.

The DSS operatives later invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019 to rearrest him without any court order.

He remained in detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.

At the resumption of his trial in a case brought against him by the Nigerian Government, the prosecution failed to prove accusations against him and even went ahead to drop seven of the charges earlier preferred against him.

He has since been confined to Abuja as one of his bail conditions forbids him from leaving the city or speaking with journalists until the end of his trial.