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Amnesty accuses EU of abetting migrant rights violations in Libya

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Amnesty International on Tuesday accused European governments of abetting grave human rights violations in Libya through their support for authorities there that often work with people smugglers and torture refugees and migrants.

Determined to cut African immigration across the Mediterranean, the governments, via the EU, have provided support to Libya, trained its coastguard and spent millions of euros through UN agencies to improve conditions in detention camps where Libya puts the migrants.

The advocacy group said up to 20,000 people were now held in these centres and subject to “torture, forced labour, extortion, and unlawful killings.”

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“European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses; by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these crimes,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s head for Europe, said.

The European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, was not immediately available for comment.

Libya is the main gateway for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities have begun to block departures under pressure from Italy, the main landing point.

No fewer than 600,000 have made the journey over the past four years.

Amnesty said the Libyan coastguards – which the EU backs to intercept people heading for Europe, work hand-in-hand with people smugglers, including in torturing people to extort money.

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“By supporting Libyan authorities in trapping people in Libya … European governments have shown where their true priorities lie: namely the closure of the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused,” said Dalhuisen.

With Libya being largely a lawless states since the fall of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, some EU officials and diplomats chafe at what they see as being forced to rely on sometimes shady characters in the matrix of alliances between militias.

However, EU leaders meeting for their final gathering this year in Brussels on December 14 to 15 will recommit themselves to this strategy, which they see as bearing fruit in the form of fewer sea crossings.

The presidency of Libya’s UN-backed government said in November it was a victim of illegal migration, not a source of it, and appealed to foreign powers to help stop flows from migrants’ countries of origin.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Activist freed after months of detention

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Omoyele Sowore a Nigerian human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters has been released.

On August 3, 2019 Sowore was arrested by the Nigerian Department of Security Services (DSS) for alleged treason after calling for a protest tagged Revolution now.

A judge in Abuja ordered the secret police to free Mr Sowore and pay a fine for their repeated refusal to comply with court rulings on the case.

The police had previously refused to grant him bail, despite being told to do so.

He has pleaded not guilty to treason, money laundering and cyber-stalking.

Human rights campaigners say the case is part of a broader move to restrict freedom of speech in Nigeria.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Court sentenced Orji kalu to 12 years in prision

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President Muhammadu Buhari regime has so far tackle corruption as promised to Nigerians before affirming the Nigerian president.

Though, one can not say whether his efforts are being recognize by Nigerian citizens after coming under criticism with his reform plans.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced a former Governor of Abia, Orji Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.

Orji Kalu is a business tycoon who served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007. Prior to his election, he served as the chairman of the Borno Water Board and the chairman of the Cooperative and Commerce Bank Limited.

Kalu was also a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the chairman of the PPA Board of Trustees.

He was the party’s presidential candidate in the April 2007 general election. He is currently a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) after he officially announced his resignation as a PPA BOT.

The court convicted Kalu, now a senator, on all the 39 counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charge.

Kalu was charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance, in the state Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.

While Kalu and his company were found guilty of all the 39 counts, Udeogo was convicted on 34 counts and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The court ordered that the Slok Nig. Ltd. be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government

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