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Incident between 15 October 2008 and 9 December 2009 Download as CSV Print this page

Country: Nigeria

Violations against the right to liberty

Police

Location


This incident took place in Nigeria

Description


According to Amnesty International: "On 15 October 2008, Boma Augustine Fingesi" [snip] "was arrested alongside 17 other men by police officers in Rivers State. The men were taken to the State Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (SIIB) in Port Harcourt. On the same day, the Joint Task Force raided Boma Augustine Fingesi’s house, broke windows, doors and ceiling boards and took some property including cash. Two days after his arrest, a family member was contacted by a police officer. “This police officer asked me if I knew that he had been shot in the legs and said that he wanted to help him”, she told Amnesty International. “I asked for whatever assistance the policeman could give. He asked for 50,000.” Family members saw images of Boma Augustine Fingesi in the newspapers and on television. “Most of the articles described him as a suspected kidnapper. On TV…pictures of him were broadcast and it was alleged that he is a kidnapper. All this happened at the police headquarters. I saw how they humiliated, assaulted him in public and made him look like a criminal on television. I could not watch this. I was just crying.” On 24 November 2008, after more than a month in custody without seeing a judge, 16 suspects were released, but Boma Augustine Fingesi remained in custody. A police officer told the family that they “should wait and leave that matter for now.” However, later the police said that Boma Augustine Fingesi was no longer in detention and that he had been released on bail. There was no document to confirm his release and the police could not say who had bailed him. “The police then changed their story and said that he had never been brought to the police station,” said a relative. “This is the big controversy. Earlier on, the police had said clearly that he was in their custody only to change the story later. They have forgotten that all the papers covered the story and there is no way they can deny knowledge of this case.” A bail application was filed and on 13 January 2009, the court granted him bail. However, the police did not release him. Even after the Rivers State Branch of CLO wrote a petition to the IGP on 23 February and 19 May 2009, no explanation was received. At the time of writing, there still is no sign of Boma Augustine Fingesi."