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Four executions in Edo State, the end of the moratorium

Press Release – Avocats Sans Frontières France / Lawyers Without Borders France

Abuja, June 25, 2013

Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASFF) condemns in strong terms the execution by hanging of 4 inmates on death row on Monday June 24, 2013, in Edo State, Nigeria. These executions were carried out despite the application for stay of execution by a human rights organisation. The executed inmates still had rights to appeal the decision of the Federal High Court.

Recall that in October 2012, the execution warrants of the just executed inmates were signed but a legal suit was filed by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) an NGO to stop the execution. Although the judgment delivered on Monday in this case was not in favour of the inmates, an appeal was promptly filed against this decision. Unfortunately the appeal was not respected and the executions were carried out in total disregard of the processes filed before the court. ASF France has been rightly informed that the Attorney General of Edo state and the Nigerian prisons were duly served with the court processes comprising of the notice of appeal and motion for stay of execution.

President Goodluck Jonathan had on Fathers’ day celebration June 16, 2013 in Abuja directed governors to exercise their constitutional responsibility of signing death warrants for condemned prisoners. ASF France condemned President Jonathan’s directive and called on the Nigerian government to respect its self imposed moratorium on execution.

The move by the federal government to resume execution of over 700 inmates on death row in Nigeria is contrary to commitments made by the Nigerian government at international level and is a huge dent on the human rights record of Nigeria. In November 2008, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 44th Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria, adopted a resolution calling on state parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to observe a moratorium on the death penalty.

Since 2001, ASFF has been working in the defence of human rights, especially in the fight against death penalty, torture and other inhuman, cruel or degrading punishments.

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