Legal Assistance and Citizens Rights Initiative (LACRI) has urged states’ attorneys-general and Directors of Public Prosecution (DPPs) to release, unconditionally, all individuals detained in connection with the #EndSARS protests, who are without any evidence of criminality.
According to the group, this is important to decongest the correctional facilities across the country.
In a statement yesterday, signed by the Executive Director, Mr. Arinze Odiari, LACRI advised that innocent detainees be separated from miscreants who vandalised public facilities during the protests, and the former released to the families.
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It also advised the judicial panels of inquiry set up by different states to give justice to victims of police brutality. “Anything short of this will amount to a travesty and further burdening of the criminal justice system and congestion of correctional facilities. It will also amount to trampling on the fundamental rights of innocent people languishing in captivity,” the group added.
Odiari said that some of the arrested persons had been charged to court, awaiting DPP’s advice before prosecution. He added: “We are all well aware of the squalid conditions in Nigeria’s jails and police cells, and any action that worsens an already-precarious situation, instead of remedying it, is most unwholesome.
“We are aware of crimes committed across the states and do not frown on perpetrators being brought to book. However, we are not oblivious that innocent citizens have been paraded alongside suspected hoodlums that unleashed mayhem in different parts of the country.
“We urge that a clear distinction be made between the two categories of detainees before a regrettable miscarriage of justice becomes the order of the day. Some of them are already claiming that they have been detained under horrible conditions for weeks without food, water, medical care or access to families/lawyers.”