© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Court adjourns Jones Abiri trial to September 5
THE Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court has adjourned the trial of Jones Abiri, a Bayelsa-based journalist who was arrested by the Department of State Service (DSS) and kept in captivity for over two years without trial.
Abiri was released on Wednesday after he met his bail conditions.
The proof of evidence was served to the counsel of Abiri on Friday and the court adjourned to September 5 to enable the defendant’s team to study the evidence.
Abiri was first arraigned in the court on July 27 after he had spent more than two years in DSS detention. He was granted stringent bail conditions that day which the court later lessened.
Counsel to Abiri, Samuel Ogala from Falana and Falana Chambers, told The ICIR that Abiri was charged with criminal intimidation of sending text messages to some oil companies and demanding certain amount of money.
DSS had claimed that Abiri was a militant and kept him in detention for more than two years without trial until local and international outrage on his captivity forced the DSS to charge him to court.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, had tried to justify Abiri’s illegal detention by claiming he is not a journalist.
Abiri, who is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Weekly Source Newspaper in Bayelsa State, was arrested by DSS on July 21, 2016 over accusation of militancy in the Niger Delta.
Abiri told The ICIR that he was denied visit by either his family members or lawyers and he was not even allowed to speak with his family on phone throughout his detention.