Two Al-jazeera journalists, Ahmed Idris – a reporter and Ali Mustapha – a camera man, both pictured above, have instituted a lawsuit against the Chief of Army staff, Gen Kenneth Minimah and the Nigerian military for what they term the infringement of their fundamental human rights following their illegal detention by the Nigerian military. They filed the suit in an Abuja high court this morning.
Both men are being detained in their hotel in Maiduguri, Borno state where they have been kept since March 24th over allegations of loitering around areas where combat operations was still ongoing.
According to their legal representative, Mr Femi Falana, the journalists are seeking a declaration from the court that their arrest and continued detention by the military is illegal and unconstitutional, thereby violating their right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 34, 35 and 41 of the constitution and Article 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and peoples’ Right Act.
The suit will also be seeking an order by the court directing the Nigerian military and the Chief of Army staff, Gen Minimah to immediately release the journalists from illegal military custody since loitering or wandering were not recognizable offences by the law.
The suit argues that the journalists were entitled to their liberty, freedom of movement and integrity to human person as guaranteed by Section 34, 35 and 41 of the Nigerian constitution.
No date has been announced for the hearing of the suit. Meanwhile the Defence Headquarters has not yet reacted to reports of the suit.