prison remand2

PRISON REMAND

ASF France Calls For Improved Access To Justice For Victims Of Torture

 

Mr Isiaka has finally regained his freedom after spending 11 years in the Nigerian Prison for an armed robbery, which he did not commit.

He was released from an arbitrary detention of over 11 years following pro-bono litigation by Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France).

This was even ASF France, to commemorate the 2024 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, joining the global human rights community to demand improved access to justice for victims of torture.

ASF France explained that on April 12, 2013, Mr. Isiaka was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Police Force on suspicion of armed robbery, a crime he did not commit.

For 11 years, he endured daily torture and inhumane treatment at the hands of the police officers.

ASF France took up his case on a pro-bono basis, ultimately securing his unconditional release on April 16, 2024.

Mr Isiaka was also awarded N4,000,000  in damages, while the Nigeria Police Force was mandated to publish a written apology in two national newspapers.

Reflecting on his ordeal, Mr Isiaka said: ‘I thank God for ASF France. I have been locked up and forgotten for over 11 years for a crime I knew nothing about. I was tortured daily and thought my life was over until ASF France took up my case. I am grateful and I hope other people like me get justice as soon as possible.”

The Country Director, of ASF France in Nigeria, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu reaffirmed ASF France’s unwavering commitment to combating torture and unequivocally condemned torture in all its forms, contexts, and settings.

She said: “Torture is a profound violation that seeks to annihilate the victim’s sense of self and dignity. Despite the absolute prohibition of torture under international, regional, and national laws, this inhumane practice persists systematically, particularly in Nigeria.

“Today, we stand in solidarity with all victims of torture, emphasizing that torture is a crime against humanity that must be eradicated.

“In Nigeria, the prevalence of the use of torture and the poor conviction rates for such crimes highlight the urgent need for a systemic change. Impunity for acts of torture must be eliminated, perpetrators must be held accountable, and our criminal justice systems and institutions must undergo comprehensive reforms to ensure access to justice and redress for torture victims.”

She explained that since 2009, Avocats Sans Frontières France has been working to end torture in Nigeria by implementing the Promoting the United Nations Convention against Torture (ProCAT).

She added: “Through the pro-bono legal aid of the ProCAT project, we have helped to secure the freedom and justice for over 2000 torture victims. We call on all justice system stakeholders to continue to work together to ensure that torture victims have access to justice.

Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said “Achieving true justice for torture victims requires providing redress for the violations they have endured and holding perpetrators accountable. We urge the Nigerian government to work collaboratively with criminal justice actors and civil society organizations to eradicate torture in Nigeria.”

She also noted that ending torture is a global challenge, we must all continue to work together to create a zero-tolerance culture of torture in Nigeria.

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