Igboho To Appear In Benin Court Over Extradition Case

Mr Sunday Adeyemi Igboho addressed reporters on January 26, 2021.
Igboho had risen to fame following his quit notice to criminal herders in Oyo State.

 

Yoruba Nation campaigner Sunday Igboho was on Monday scheduled to appear in a Republic of Benin court to face “likely extradition charges to be brought against him by the Nigerian Government.”

This is according to Yoruba group, the Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide.

Mr Igboho has been declared wanted by the Department of State Services for threatening national security.

Before fleeing Nigeria for Benin after his house in Ibadan was raided by DSS officials, Mr Igboho had been vocal about the creation of a Yoruba state due to the Nigerian government’s inability to curb herdsmen violence.

No immigration charges

In the Monday statement signed by spokesperson Maxwell Adeleye, the Yoruba group said security operatives in Benin have removed leg-chain and hand-cuff from Igboho since Saturday evening.

The statement also noted that Igboho’s wife, who was arrested with him in Benin but later released, has now been granted access to meet her husband three times daily.

The Benin authorities have also allowed “medical Personnel provided by our legal team” to examine Igboho, the group said.

Meanwhile, the statement stressed that Igboho is not in court to face “any immigration-related probe in Benin Republic” but “likely extradition charges to be brought against him by the Nigerian Government.”

“We urge supporters from Nigeria not to bother coming to the court premises in Bénin,” the statement added.

“Kindly stay in Nigeria and support with prayers and whatever you can do within the ambit of the law.

“We are confident that Chief Igboho shall be set free.”

UK Court Rejects Assange’s Extradition To US

Stella Moris (C), the partner of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, walks with Kristinn Hrafnsson (3R), editor in chief of Wikileaks, before addressing the media outside the Old Bailey court in central London after a judge ruled that Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges for publishing secret documents online on January 4, 2021. PHOTO: TOLGA AKMEN / AFP

 

A British judge on Monday blocked WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States to face espionage charges, finding he was at serious risk of suicide.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said the 49-year-old Australian publisher’s actions in leaking secret documents went “well beyond” that of a journalist, and he would have been “well aware” of the dangers the leak posed.

But facing the “harsh conditions” likely in the US jail system, Assange’s mental health would deteriorate, “causing him to commit suicide” with the determination of a person with autism spectrum disorder, she ruled, siding with a diagnosis by psychologists.

READ ALSO: 13 Things To Know About COVID-19 Vaccination

Inside the Old Bailey court in central London, Assange wiped his forehead as the decision was announced while his fiancee Stella Moris burst into tears and was embraced by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Moris, who has two young sons with Assange, said the ruling was “a victory” but she would not celebrate until he was free and also appealed to US President Donald Trump.

“End this now,” she said outside the court. “Tear down these prison walls, that our little boys have their father, for Julian, the press, for all of us.”

His supporters had gathered since early morning, defying police warnings to disperse because of coronavirus restrictions. They erupted in cheers and shouted “Free Assange!”

The ruling follows more than a decade of legal controversies. Assange and his lawyers have long argued that the protracted case was politically motivated.

However, the US government gave notice it will challenge the decision and has two weeks to lodge its grounds to appeal.

 

– ‘Oppressive’ move –

Assange was remanded in custody until a bail hearing on Wednesday.

Any decision to block extradition should meet a high bar given Britain’s treaty obligations, Baraitser said.

But she rejected US experts’ testimony that Assange would be protected from self-harm, noting that others such as disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein had managed to kill themselves in custody despite wardens’ supervision.

“For this reason, I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge,” she said.

The US non-profit Freedom of the Press Foundation said the case against Assange was “the most dangerous threat to US press freedom in decades”.

“The extradition request was not decided on press freedom grounds; rather the judge essentially ruled the US prison system was too repressive to extradite.”

Fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden said he hoped the ruling would mark “the end” of the case against Assange.

 

– History of depression –

Assange is wanted on 18 charges in the United States relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If convicted in the United States, he faces up to 175 years in jail.

Before the ruling, both Germany and a UN rights expert expressed concern over the human rights and humanitarian problems presented by the extradition.

Assange has a history of depression and a respiratory condition that makes him more vulnerable to Covid-19, which has infected several inmates at the high-security prison where he has been held in London.

He has also complained of hearing imaginary voices and music during his detention.

 

– ‘Clear message’ –

UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has urged Trump to pardon Assange, saying he is not “an enemy of the American people”.

The prospect of a possible pardon from the outgoing US leader has gained ground following a slew of others granted to a number of Trump’s political allies.

The UK hearing was told Trump had promised to pardon Assange if he testified Russia had hacked into the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election campaign.

WikiLeaks later published the emails, which proved politically damaging to Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton before the vote.

Washington claims Assange helped intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal the 2010 documents before exposing confidential sources around the world.

After Sweden first issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 over allegations of sexual assault, he sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he remained from 2012 until 2019.

In April 2019, Ecuador, by then ruled by right-wing President Lenin Moreno, revoked his citizenship. British police dragged Assange out of the embassy.

AFP

Assange Faces UK Court Ruling On Extradition To US

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London./AFP

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces a UK court ruling on Monday over whether he should be extradited to the United States on espionage charges for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret documents online.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser is due to give her decision at the Old Bailey court in central London from 1000 GMT, in a case that has become a cause celebre for media freedom.

Assange, 49, faces 18 charges in the United States relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The extradition hearing follows over a decade of international legal controversies surrounding the Australian publisher.

Monday’s court decision is subject to appeal, meaning legal proceedings in the country could still continue before any possible extradition.

If convicted in the United States, Assange could be jailed for up to 175 years.

Before the ruling, both Germany and a UN rights expert expressed concern over the human rights and humanitarian problems presented by the extradition.

Assange suffers from a respiratory condition that makes him more vulnerable to Covid-19, which has infected several inmates at the high-security prison in southeast London where he has been held.

Defence witnesses called during the hearing said Assange’s history of depression meant he would be a suicide risk if sent to the United States and locked up in a maximum-security prison.

He has also complained of hearing imaginary voices and music during his detention.

Clear message

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, told AFP on Sunday that he was “almost certain” the court will rule against Assange.

“We’ve seen such bias in the proceedings, there have been so many violations against Julian in the proceedings, that unfortunately I’m almost certain that the decision tomorrow will be that he should be extradited.”

In an earlier statement, he said that “the mere fact that this case has made it to court, let alone gone on this long, is an historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech”.

United Nations special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has urged US President Donald Trump to pardon Assange, saying he is not “an enemy of the American people”.

“In pardoning Mr. Assange, Mr. President, you would send a clear message of justice, truth, and humanity to the American people and to the world,” he wrote in December.

“You would rehabilitate a courageous man who has suffered injustice, persecution, and humiliation for more than a decade, simply for telling the truth.”

The prospect of a possible pardon from the outgoing US leader has gained ground following a slew of pardons granted to a number of Trump’s political allies.

The UK hearing in February last year was told Trump promised to pardon Assange if he testified Russia hacked into the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election campaign.

WikiLeaks later published the emails, which proved politically damaging to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton before the vote.

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee and the mother of his two young sons, has appealed to Trump directly. “The people want you to pardon Assange. Please listen,” she wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

In court, his lawyers have argued the charges against him are political while outside supporters have mounted a noisy daily vigil.

Baraitser will have to decide whether the US request for extradition is compatible with human rights.

Washington for its part claims Assange helped intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal the documents before exposing confidential sources around the world.

After Sweden first issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 over allegations of sexual assault, he sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he remained from 2012 until 2019.

In April 2019, Ecuador, by then ruled by right-wing President Lenin Moreno, revoked his citizenship.

The following day, British police dragged Assange out of the embassy, having been informed that his asylum had been withdrawn. He was arrested by British police for breaching his bail terms.

The earlier Swedish assault investigation against him was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

Corruption Charges: Court Refuses To Grant Extradition Order Against Alison-Madueke

EFCC Seeks Diezani’s Extradition, Court Adjourns Arraignment Till May
(File) Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has turned down the application to extradite the former Minister of Petroleum, Deizani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu refused the application on the grounds that the evidence in support to prove that the earlier court summon granted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had failed in the extradition of Deizani, and it must be filed again before another request can be made.

The prosecution counsel, Farouk  Abdalla informed the court that the defendant was not in court despite a notice of summons for her appearance that was published in a national daily and the EFCC’s website on August 20.

Ruling on the application, Justice Ojukwu ruled that an extension order be made, as the prosecution needed to file an affidavit to support the warrant for extradition.

She gave the prosecution more time to perfect every necessary document and file the same.

The case has been adjourned to December 3 for hearing.

Assange In UK Court Ahead Of Extradition Hearing

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London./ AFP

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in public for the first time in six months on Monday, seeming frail and confused during a British court appearance ahead of his extradition hearing.

The 48-year-old Australian is fighting a United States bid to extradite him on charges filed under the US Espionage Act, and sat in the witness box as a London court decided the timetable of his full hearing, due to begin in February.

Although clean shaven and dressed smartly in a blue jacket, blue jumper and dark trousers, Assange appeared confused whenever he was asked to talk at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

He seemed to have difficulties recalling his birth date, and at the end of the hearing told District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that he had not understood what had happened in court.

He then complained about the conditions in which he was being kept at the high-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London.

“I can’t access any of my writings, it’s very difficult to do anything and these people have unlimited resources, they have an unfair advantage,” he said in a barely audible voice.

Assange also suggested that someone had tried to steal his children’s DNA before adding: “I can’t think properly”.

First public appearance 

It was his first public appearance since being dramatically dragged from Ecuador’s embassy in April.

He could be sentenced to spend up to 175 years in a US prison if convicted on all charges.

Baraitser rejected his legal team’s request for more time to gather evidence, telling Assange his next case management hearing would take place on December 19, before a full extradition hearing in February.

Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers also claimed the US had invaded his client’s legal privilege.

“The American state has been actively engaged in intruding into privileged discussions between Mr Assange and his lawyers in the embassy, also unlawful copying of their telephones and computers — hooded men breaking into offices,” he said.

Assange used WikiLeaks to publish classified military and diplomatic files in 2010 about US bombing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq that proved highly embarrassing to the US government.

He has been making periodic appearances by video-link at administrative hearings as he tries to prove that he is no longer a flight risk and can be set free on bail due to poor health.

He recently served his term for violating his bail terms, when he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, but is still in custody while his extradition case is ongoing.

Around 50 supporters gathered outside the court, chanting “free Julian Assange”, led by a man with loudspeaker.

One supporter was dressed as a whistle, holding a sign saying “protect journalists, publishers, whistleblowers”.

The small courtroom was also packed with his backers, including journalist John Pilger and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

AFP

Canada Extradites Mother, Uncle To India Over Killing

Canada’s flag

 

Canada has extradited the mother and uncle of a woman killed 19 years ago to face justice in India for their alleged roles in her honor killing, media said Thursday.

The body of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu was found with her throat slit in June 2000 in Punjab state. She was 25 years old at the time of her death.

Her uncle Surjit Singh Badesha and mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu, both Canadian citizens of Indian origin, have been accused by Indian authorities of planning her murder.

Indian prosecutors have said the pair furiously opposed the young woman’s marriage to a poor rickshaw driver, which the victim had kept secret for a year.

After revealing her marriage to her family, the victim reportedly flew from Canada to India to reunite with her husband, Mithu Sidhu.

The couple was later attacked as they rode a scooter in a village near Sangrur, Punjab in June 2000. Her husband was severely beaten and left for dead while Sidhu was kidnapped and later killed.

The slain woman’s mother and uncle allegedly paid a Punjab police officer to hire the attackers.

Seven men were eventually convicted of the crime in India, but several of those convictions were overturned on appeal.

The family has denied involvement in the killing and fought extradition all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against them in 2017.

A last-ditch effort to avoid extradition by claiming abuse of process failed last December.

Inspector Amardeep Singh Rai with Punjab police told Canadian public broadcaster CBC the extradition process took an unusually long time, but the two suspects landed in Delhi Thursday morning local time.

The lengthy effort, he said, will “send a clear message … anybody committing a crime here, especially the heinous crime of killing their own daughter, will be brought to book.”

The pair are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

AFP

Ex-Burkina Faso Leader’s Brother Faces Extradition

Francois Compaore, brother of the deposed Burkinabe president Blaise Compaore, looks on during a summit in Ouagadougou. Ahmed OUOBA / AFP

 

A French court on Wednesday approved the extradition of the brother of Burkina Faso’s ousted leader Blaise Compaore to face prosecution in his homeland over the murder of a journalist.

Francois Compaore, who was arrested in Paris in October last year over the 1998 killing of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo in Burkina Faso, could still challenge the decision by the Court of Appeal in a higher court.

He was one of the most disliked figures in the regime of Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in a popular revolt in October 2014 after trying to change the constitution to extend his 27-year grip on power.

Francois Compaore is wanted on charges of “inciting the death” of Zongo and three companions, whose charred bodies were found in a burnt-out car in the south of the country in December 1998.

Zongo’s family have long accused Francois Compaore of having had a hand in the killings, which triggered mass protests in Burkina Faso and drew international condemnation.

Compaore’s lawyers argued against his extradition saying the charges he faces do not exist in France and warned he could face the death penalty.

AFP

No Extradition Request For Assange, Says Ecuador

 

Ecuador said Wednesday it has received no extradition request for Julian Assange, which his lawyers have long cited as the reason the WikiLeaks founder has refused to leave its London embassy.

“We have told Mr Assange: ‘Up to now, as far as we know, there is no extradition request from any country,'” Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told state-owned Radio Public.

The 47-year-old Australian has been holed up at Ecuador’s embassy since 2012, but Ecuador has shown increasing signs in recent months that it is preparing to terminate his six-year stay.

Valencia said the cost of hosting Assange so far had come to around six million dollars.

Assange fears being extradited to the United States to face charges over the WikiLeaks website’s release of troves of sensitive US government files.

He found refuge in the embassy in London after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to face allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

That case has since been dropped, but Britain still wants him to face justice over breaching his bail conditions following his arrest on the sexual assault allegations.

His lawyer Carlos Poveda said last month Assange was prepared to surrender to British police if he receives assurances he will not be extradited.

“What England asks of him is to appear before the British courts to answer for having broken the conditions of his provisional release,” the foreign minister said.

“We do not see the British changing their point of view, they continue to insist that he appear before the courts and that they will not give him safe passage to another country,” said Valencia.

Ecuador said it had been informed by Britain that the penalty for violating parole conditions would not be more than six months.

Assange is currently suing Ecuador on grounds that his rights were violated by its decision to restrict his internet access. An Ecuadoran court threw out the lawsuit last week, but Assange is appealing.

Quito confirmed blocking Assange’s internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking “a written commitment” not to interfere in Ecuador’s foreign policies.

A protocol governing Assange’s stay at the embassy — revealed by Ecuadoran internet site Codigo Vidrio and never denied by Quito — warns that further breaches will lead to “termination of asylum.”

AFP

German Prosecutor Requests Puigdemont Extradition To Spain

Spain Prosecutors Say Immunity Won't Save Ex-Catalan Leader From Arrest
FILE COPY Catalonia’s ousted regional president Carles Puigdemont (C) holds his first post-election meeting for members of his parliamentary group in Brussels.
JOHN THYS / AFP

 

German prosecutors said Tuesday that they have requested a court’s permission to extradite Catalonia’s ousted president Carles Puigdemont on a rebellion charge following his arrest last month.

“The prosecutor’s office of Schleswig-Holstein state applied for an extradition arrest warrant against former Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont from the superior regional court,” it said in a statement.

AFP

Those Asking For Extradition Of Diezani Are Ignorant, Says Buhari’s Aide

Lauretta Onochie

The Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has said those seeking the extradition of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, “are very ignorant”.

Onochie’s reaction is coming after the Concerned Nigerians group led by musician, Charles Oputa, popularly called Charly Boy, on Monday took its protest to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), demanding the extradition of the former Minister Of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The Presidential aide on Tuesday, in series of tweets, said those seeking the extradition of Diezani from the United Kingdom to face corruption charges  “did not do their homework at all and that is mumu-ness in itself.”

In her Tweets, she explained that foreigners are not charged in the United Kingdom for crimes committed in their home country or other countries.

“The United Kingdom does not charge foreigners for crimes committed in other countries. They charge them for crimes committed against UK,” she said.

Also, Onochie claimed she was present in court during the sentencing of former Delta State governor, Mr James Ibori, in the United Kingdom.

According to her, the judge made it clear during the ruling that the sentence was for crimes the former governor committed in the UK only.

“In Ibori’s case in the UK. I was in the court for the judgement and the judge made it clear that his sentence was for crimes in the UK.

“UK will have its pound of Diezani’s flesh in form of jail sentence. Thereafter, they may hand her over to the US, Italy and then Nigeria,” some of her tweets read.

Alison-Madueke, who is being investigated over corruption allegations is currently in the United Kingdom.

The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, also on Monday, ordered the final forfeiture of a sum of N7,646,700,000 allegedly belonging to the former minister.

 

Disgraced Ex-Governor Arrives In Mexico After Extradition

A former state governor from Mexico’s ruling party wanted for embezzlement and organised crime arrived in Mexico City after being extradited from Guatemala on Monday, the Mexican government said.

Javier Duarte, who until last year governed the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is suspected of syphoning off millions of dollars during his tenure. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Elected governor in 2010, Duarte allegedly executed massive personal enrichment schemes, potentially totalling in the hundreds of millions of dollars and involving assets in Mexico and abroad. He has been accused of using shell companies to transfer and hide public funds.

Duarte was arrested in Guatemala in April after more than five months on the run, and the foreign ministry and the attorney general’s office said in a joint statement that the extradition of the former PRI official had been completed. Corruption is shaping up to be one of the focal points of next year’s presidential election, with opinion polls showing the PRI is seriously at risk of being voted out of office.

We Won’t Extradite Kashamu Until Court Cases Are Resolved – AGF, NDLEA

NDLEA Parades 14 Drug Suspects In KogiThe Ministry of Justice and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have said that Senator Buruji Kashamu will not be extradited to the United States to face drug charges until all court actions in respect of his extradition are resolved.

The two Federal Government agencies indicated this position in the court processes they filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Kashamu, who represents Ogun West in the Senate, had dragged the two agencies before the court on the allegation that they were planning to forcefully kidnap and extradite him to the US for trial in drug-related offences.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter, Kashamu told Justice Gabriel Kolawole through his counsel, Akin Olujimi that the AGF and NDLEA have agreed not to extradite him until all court actions on the issue have been resolved.

Olujimi said that in view of the assurances from the two parties, there was no need to pursue any court action against them at the Federal High Court.

He applied to Justice Kolawole to grant him leave to withdraw the suit against the AGF and NDLEA in view of the assurances not to extradite him to the U.S. until all cases are fully resolved.

The counsel told the judge that both parties would now go back to the court of appeal to continue with the appeal cases that emanated from the refusal of the Federal High Court to grant the extradition request.