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After 41 days in DSS detention, Sowore applies again for bail

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OMOYELE Sowore, founder of Sahara Reporters and 2019 presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), has filed a fresh bail application to the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking  to be released from detention.

He was arrested at about 11 pm on August 2 by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) for calling for a revolution and “threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social harmony in the country”.

Relying on a provision of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013, the Federal High Court in Abuja had, five days later, granted the DSS permission to keep him in detention without trial for 45 days. Sowore’s application to upturn this, in August, was not ruled upon by the court.

Sowore’s latest application, filed by Falana & Falana’s Chambers, is seeking bail on self-recognisance (with the condition being only a personal assurance of appearing for trial) or “upon any condition the court may reasonably deem to impose in the circumstance of the case”.

The motion, a copy of which was obtained by The ICIR, noted that Sowore’s arrest was made without a warrant and argued that even someone detained under the anti-terrorism law can be admitted to bail.

It submitted that Sowore is entitled to bail since he has cooperated with the DSS and the government agency has “concluded investigation of this case and announced its findings”.

“The Applicant had also volunteered a statement to the Respondent since the 7th and 8th August,” it further stated.

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“The persons, who participated in the protests of 5th August 2019 were charged with unlawful assembly at the Magistrate Courts at Ebute-Metta, Lagos State, Oshogbo in Osun State, Calabar, and Lagos State.

“The arraigned persons were all promptly released on bail upon arraignment.”

The motion also stated that Sowore has never been charged with any criminal office is entitled to rights of fair hearing, dignity of human person, liberty, health and freedom of movement as guaranteed by law.

Sowore’s detention has been condemned by various organisations, including Amnesty International and the Nigeria Labour Congress.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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