Group seeks closure of secret detention centres
A civil society group, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE-Nigeria), has called for closure of all the secret detention facilities across the country.The group also called on the government to stop the practice of secret detention and imprisonment of all categories of suspects, including suspected terrorists, stressing that such practices contravene international human rights law and international humanitarian laws.
Executive Director of the group, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, who spoke on the occasion of International Day of the Disappeared celebrated across the world today, said secret detention facilities are not only illegal but also places of massive human rights violations.and harsh conditions as they are out of public scrutiny and the suspects are at the mercy of their jailers.
“Such facilities should not be allowed to exist in our society”, Uhaa said.Besides, the group, which called on arresting agencies to respect the basic legal provisions in domestic and international laws that mandate law enforcement agencies to assist suspects in contacting their families or legal counsel at the point of arrest, said: “This will afford families of suspects the opportunity to know the whereabouts of their loved ones, the reasons for their arrest as well as help them access justice.
“Families of suspects have the right to know the fate of their loved ones in detention, and this right must be respected.“The common practice where law enforcement agency denies suspects their rights to contact their families or legal counsel at the time of arrest is illegal, wicked and barbaric, and gives room for torture, extortion, impunity and prolonged detention without trial.”
Uhaa, therefore, called on the Federal Government to direct all detaining authorities, particularly the police, to declare the number of people in their detention facilities as a first critical step towards opening them to public scrutiny and accountability.“A situation where no one knows the number of detainees in the police, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), FSARS and military detention camps is bad and gives a signal that we do not care about the suspects in these facilities,” he added.
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