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Sowore, co-defendant meet bail conditions, should be freed today, Falana discloses in court


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FEMI Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist, has said Omoyele Sowore, his client and publisher of Sahara Reporters, will be released from detention later on Wednesday having met the bail conditions set by the Federal High Court.

Falana said the defendants will be freed on Wednesday while asking for an adjournment of the trial.

He also accused the Department of State Service (DSS) of preventing him from adequately preparing a defence for Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, against the allegation of treasonable felony, according to Punch Newspaper.

“I have already explained to the learned prosecuting counsel that we are encumbered by the refusal of the State Security Service to allow us to prepare for the defence of the defendants,” he said.

“I had already asked my learned counsel for the prosecution, that we are confident that the defendants will be freed today [Wednesday] from the custody of the SSS having met the bail conditions imposed on them by this honourable court. Once they are liberated from the custody of the SSS, we will be in a position to take full instruction from them.”

Though the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), moved against the application for adjournment, arguing that the defendants had “ample time and opportunity to prepare for their defence”, Falana observed that his team has not been served the prosecution’s video evidence.

“The judge [Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu] expressed worry why the prosecution refused to serve the defendant the statements and the proof of evidence,” Sahara Reporters reported.

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“Justice Ojukwu criticised DSS’ haphazard way of carrying out its affairs through its lawyers. She asserted that the DSS was dragging the court back and ordered the prosecution to serve the defence with all statements needed to proceed with the trial.”

The Federal Government had, in September, filed a seven-count charge against Sowore that included treasonable felony, insulting the president, and money laundering. He was arrested at about 11 pm on August 2 by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and has since been in detention alongside Bakare.

In October, Justice Ojukwu granted bail to the defendants, demanding bail bonds of N100 million and N50 million respectively from Sowore and Bakare. The court also ordered them to remain in the Federal Capital Territory, drop their travel passports with the court, and that Sowore should not participate in any public demonstrations.

'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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