Court dismisses Akwa Ibom govt suit against journalist, Kufre, over alleged ‘criminal defamation’

A Magistrate court sitting in Akwa Ibom has dismissed a suit filed by the State government against Kufre Carter, a sports journalist over alleged ‘criminal defamation’.

The case was dismissed on Friday by Winifred Umohandy, the State’ Chief Magistrate over lack of diligent prosecution.

Carter who had spent a month in police detention was represented by Inibehe Effiong Chambers.

Kufre was arrested and arraigned in court in April by the State Security Service (SSS) over a viral audio message where he criticized Dominic Ukpong, a former Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Health and the State Government for poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inibehe Efiong chambers said the state government was unable to provide any witness in court on Friday.

Kufre’s legal counsel added that Ukpong and other representatives of the government were also absent from the court to stand by their suit.

The ICIR had reported that Carter was taken into custody by operatives of the SSS on April 27, after his visit to the state office in the company of his lawyer, Augustine Asuquo.

    Asuquo said he was not granted access to witness the interrogation of his client and was walked out of the premises by the security agents.

    Inibehe Effiong, Head of Inibehe Effiong Chambers who also offered legal representation to Carter in a statement alleged his client was being tortured by the SSS operatives to forcefully obtain a confession from him.

    “From all indications, we reasonably believe that SSS officers are torturing Kufre Carter in their custody in their effort to extract a ‘confessional statement’ from our client. The SSS is torturing our client for him to hand over his private mobile phone to them,” Effiong said.

    Earlier in May, the SSS had shunned a court order for the release of Carter on excuses that it was waiting for the order of the state governor, Samuel Udom, according to Effiong before he eventually regained his freedom on May 28.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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