Man Sentenced To Life Imprisonment For Raping Two-Year-Old In Ogun

File photo

 

An Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital has sentenced a 35-year-old man, Adekunle Olalere, to life imprisonment for raping a two-year-old girl.

Olalere who resides in the Mowe area of Ogun State was convicted on one count of having sexual intercourse with the two-year-old, a charge which he pleaded not guilty to.

However, delivering the judgment on Tuesday, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi held that all evidence presented before the court by the prosecution was tenable, hence the convict was guilty as charged.

“Based on the evidence, I find and hold that the convict, had sexual intercourse with the child and is guilty as charged,” he said and thereafter, sentenced Olalere to life Imprisonment.

The prosecution counsel, Mrs Oluyemisi Aruleba, had told the court during the trial that the convict committed the offense on March 22, 2017, at No 18, Bashorun street off Unity road, Olowotedo area in Mowe.

According to her, the convict forcefully had sexual intercourse with the two-year-old girl.

Aruleba said the victim’s mother had been residing with Olalere because she helps the wife to sell foodstuff and other things.

“The victim’s mother met her two-year-old daughter crying, and noticed she was not walking properly, she checked her daughter’s private part and noticed it was swollen.

“She took the child to the hospital where it was confirmed that there were sperm cells in her private part and it was also revealed that the child had been sexually abused,” she said.

According to Arulebe, the offenses contravened Section 32 of the Child Right laws of Ogun 2006.

Senate Recommends Life Imprisonment For Kidnappers, Removes Time Limit On Rape Cases

Lawmakers during plenary at the Senate chamber in Abuja February 12, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate has amended the Criminal Code Act which recommends life imprisonment for kidnappers and deletes the statute of limitations on cases of rape.

Section 218 of the Criminal Code Act (amended) removing the statute of limitations implies that the defilement cases can remain open for as long as possible against the earlier limitation of two months.

The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.02) was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central Senatorial District) on September 24, 2019.

READ ALSO: Senate Passes Criminal Code Bill, Seeks Protection Of Mentally Challenged Persons

The Senate on Tuesday also eliminated the gender restrictions in the offence of rape as Section 357 of the Criminal Code Act defines rape as an offence against women.

It acknowledged that the male gender can also be victims.

Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matter, Opeyemi Bamidele in his presentation, explained that the aim of criminal law and criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders.

“And where the law fails to achieve any of these objectives, it becomes inherently defective, hence the need for the amendment/review of such law(s) to bring them into conformity with best practices.

“This amendment is a response to these anomalies and is also within the legislative powers of the National Assembly, to make laws that are responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people and to also amend obsolete laws that will enhance effective justice system and ensure good governance.

“Therefore, the amendment to the Criminal Code Act that is being proposed, is a welcome development to our criminal justice system”.

Senator Bamidele further noted that the proposition to delete statute of limitation on the prosecution of offences under section 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act, is a welcome development as the statute of limitation, placed on defilement and rape, negates the principles of natural law, equity and good conscience.

“There is no gainsaying the fact anyone who has carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen (13) or a girl being of or above the age of thirteen (13) and under the age of sixteen (16) or attempts to commit same offences, may not be punished, as the prosecution of such offence is barred after the expiration of two (2) months from the commission of the offence by virtue of the statute of limitation.

“Finally, they submitted that the frequency of kidnapping across the Federation and the resultant trauma, not to mention the number of lives lost to the crime, makes it imperative to review our laws with a view to ensuring appropriate punishment for perpetrators as well as serve as deterrence to would-be perpetrators.

“Thus, the passage of this Bill would proffer a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping as against the provisions of section 364 of the Act, which proffer the punishment of imprisonment for a term of ten (10) years, where the offence of kidnapping is established”.

He added that Nigerians at the public hearing expressed divergent views as regards the proposed amendments in the bill.

Read Details Of The Bill Below:

REPORT OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LEGAL MATTERS ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL CODE ACT CAP. C.38 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 TO DELETE THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION ON DEFILEMENT, INCREASE PUNISHMENT FOR THE OFFENCE OF KIDNAPPING, REMOVE GENDER RESTRICTIONS IN THE OFFENCE OF RAPE; AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.

1.0 BACKGROUND

The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.02) was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central Senatorial District). The Bill was read for the First Time on Tuesday, 24th September 2019. On Tuesday, 26th November 2019, the Senate deliberated on the general principles of the Bill. After extensive debates, it was read the Second Time and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, for further legislative action, (vide Order of Referral dated Tuesday 26th November, 2019), to report back with its recommendations.

2.0 METHOD OF WORK

After the referral, the Committee held a series of meetings and agreed on the following legislative framework:

(a) to consult widely and seek views of stakeholders on the justifications for the passage of the Bill; and
(b) to resort to any other matter incidental thereto, which would assist the Committee in the discharge of its assignment.

3.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE BILL

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, the objectives of the Bill, among others, are: to delete the statute of limitation on defilement in Sections 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C.38 LFN, 2004 and amend the definition of rape in Section 357, and provide stringent punishment for the offence of kidnapping in section 364 of the Criminal Code Act.

4.0 LEGISLATIVE ACTION

In furtherance of this assignment, the Committee relied on the legislative framework, earlier agreed upon as the way forward. Accordingly, in addition to the wide consultations that were made with relevant stakeholders in order to elicit their inputs on the proposed legislation, the Committee also considered divergent views expressed by Distinguished Senators on the merits of the Bill during the Second Reading stage.

Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, I wish to state here for the avoidance of doubt that, from views expressed on the Bill, there were opposing arguments on the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly. It will interest Distinguished Senators to note that the Committee subjected all the views canvassed for and against the passage of the Bill, taking into account, extant Laws on the subject matter. Below, are the highlights of the views expressed by stakeholders on the proposed legislation.

4.1 Highlights of Views

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, let me commend once again, the Sponsor of the Bill for this laudable piece of legislative proposal. It is apposite to state that an effective criminal justice system, is fundamental to the maintenance of law and order and since criminal justice addresses behavioural issues, it must be dynamic and proactive.

The aim of criminal law and the criminal justice system is not only for punishment but also for deterrence, retribution, restoration and rehabilitation of offenders. And where the law fails to achieve any of these objectives, it becomes inherently defective, hence the need for the amendment/review of such law(s) to bring them into conformity with best practices. This amendment is a response to these anomalies and is also within the legislative powers of the National Assembly, to make laws that are responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people and to also amend obsolete laws that will enhance effective justice system and ensure good governance. Therefore, the amendment to the Criminal Code Act that is being proposed, is a welcome development to our criminal justice system.

Firstly, it should be noted that the proposition to delete statute of limitation on the prosecution of offences under section 218 and 221 of the Criminal Code Act, is a welcome development as the statute of limitation, placed on defilement and rape, negates the principles of natural law, equity and good conscience. There is no gainsaying the fact anyone who has carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of thirteen (13) or a girl being of or above the age of thirteen (13) and under the age of sixteen (16) or attempts to commit same offences, may not be punished, as prosecution of such offence is barred after the expiration of two (2) months from the commission of the offence by virtue of statute of limitation.

Secondly, the stakeholders contended that the use of the words “idiot or imbecile” in Section 221 of the Act, has pejorative connotations, which have become derogatory and obsolete. As such, their usage should no longer exist in our laws, hence the need for this amendment. This is also a welcome development and a modern trend in legislative drafting and best practice world over.

Furthermore, section 357 of the Criminal Code Act, defines rape as an offence against women. However, in recent times, there are incidences of non-consensual sex, perpetrated against the male gender. Therefore, the passage of this Bill will ensure that our laws and jurisprudence evolve in tandem with the rest of the world.

Finally, they submitted that the frequency of kidnapping across the Federation and the resultant trauma, not to mention the number of lives lost to the crime, makes it imperative to review our laws with a view to ensuring appropriate punishment for perpetrators as well as serve as deterrence to would-be perpetrators. Thus, the passage of this Bill would proffer a life sentence for persons found guilty of kidnapping as against the provisions of section 364 of the Act, which proffer the punishment of imprisonment for a term of ten (10) years, where the offence of kidnapping is established.

Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, at this juncture, we wish to state that a cross-section of stakeholders opposed the passage of the Bill, based on the substantive and procedural laws on the subject matter, hence, they submitted as follows:

Firstly, they stated that the statute of limitation, regarding the prosecution of the offence of defilement that must commence within two (2) months from the date the offence was committed, which is the absurdity that this Bill seeks to address, has been cured by virtue of section 45 (1) and (2) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, as such, the amendment should be discountenanced. For the avoidance of doubt, the section provides as follows:

“(1) Any offence committed or proceedings instituted before the commencement of this Act under the provisions of the –
(a) Criminal Code, Cap. LFN, 2004
(b) Penal Code, LFN, 2004
(c) Criminal Procedure Code, Cap. LFN, 2004
(d) Any other law or regulation relating to any act of violence defined by this Act shall as the case may require to be enforced or continue to be enforced by the provisions of this Act.
(2) Any provision of the Act shall supersede any other provision on similar offences in the Criminal Code, Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code”.

Secondly, it was contended that since the Violence Against Persons Act, 2015, has addressed the gender neutrality issue on rape or defilement, as there is no longer distinction regarding the classification of all acts of sexual penetration of persons, such as rape or defilement in this Act, it is needless to amend the Criminal Code Act in that regard. Thus, section 1 (1) (a) of the Act, states as follows:

“1. (1) A person commits the offence of rape if –
(a) he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else”

From the standpoint of this provision, they argued that it is clear, gender neutrality introduced in the definition of rape in this Bill, has already been addressed, as such, the Criminal Code Act should not be amended.

Thirdly, they argued that the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, has, in no small measure, helped in the administration of justice generally in the Federal Capital Territory and Federal Courts, across the country, which is the uniform procedural law that applies in these Courts. Therefore, stakeholders unanimously emphasised the urgent need to comprehensively and holistically review all obsolete existing criminal laws, including the Criminal Code Act and the Penal Code Act to pave way for uniformity and suitability in our country instead of embarking on a piecemeal amendment, as is being sought by this Bill; and

Finally, it was posited that in as much as the National Assembly has the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation, it does not have the constitutional competence to legislate on crimes that do not fall within the contemplation of the Exclusive Legislative List. Hence, the National Assembly cannot amend the Criminal Code and Penal Code for the States.

5.0 OBSERVATIONS/FINDINGS

Flowing from the analysis of submissions made by the stakeholders on the Bill and based on our subsequent consideration of the Bill in our mark–up session, the Committee hereby makes the following observations and findings:

1. That the introduction of the Bill is laudable and commendable as its passage into law, will address the lingering issues of status of limitation in the prosecution of rape/defilement cases and the incessant kidnapping menace, which are on the rise, in recent times;

2. That even though the statute of limitation has been deliberately omitted from the VAPP Act, 2015, which is the prevailing law on the subject matter, intended to give room for the prosecution of offences of this nature, it is not of general application. As such, this proposed amendment is a welcome development;

3. That by virtue of Section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, dealing with savings and transitional provision, the National Assembly has the legislative competence to amend the Criminal Code Act as an Act of the National Assembly by its virtue of being in existing law;

4. That the National Assembly can amend the Criminal Code Act in line with the aforesaid provision, which gives it power to take over all existing laws, made prior to its existence, and subject such laws to necessary modifications in order to bring them into conformity with the Constitution;

5. That contrary to views canvassed by those opposing the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly, on the ground that its passage will usurp the powers of the States to legislate on the subject matter, it should be stated for the avoidance of doubt, that the proposed Bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act of 1916 and not Criminal Code Law of the States; and

6. That the Bill, when enacted, will be applied by the Federal High Court, in the southern part of the country, where the Criminal Code Act, is applicable and operational.

6.0 RECOMMENDATION

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to which this Bill, was referred, having considered same, recommends as follows:

“That the Senate does pass the Criminal Code Act Cap. C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2020”.

WE SO MOVE.

7.0 CONCLUSION

On behalf of members of the Committee, I wish to express our gratitude for this opportunity to serve you, our colleagues and our nation, Nigeria.

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
Chairman

Obaseki Converts Death Sentences Of Four Prisoners To Life Imprisonment, Pardons One

Governor Godwin Obaseki addressing a gathering in Abuja on July 19, 2019.

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has converted the death sentence given to four prisoners to life imprisonment.

The governor also approved the release of one person from the Correctional Centre.

Mr Obaseki gave the approval in the exercise of the powers conferred on him under section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, on the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

READ ALSO: Third Term Was Planted By PDP – Oshiomhole

The four Prisoners whose sentences were transmuted from death row to life imprisonment are Ayo Olofin, Abiodun Uwagboe, Sanni Ladan and Joel Ighalo; while the released inmate is one Emejor Amos.

In June 2019, Governor Obaseki approved the release of eight prisoners who were on death row and transmuted the death penalty of nine others.

Those freed were “Abu Dennis Ulubeka (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offence of Murder; Tirimisiyu Adebayo (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offences of conspiracy and Armed Robbery; Tajudeen Fabiyi (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offences of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery, and Olufemi Ajayi (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offences of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery.”

Others were “Charles Omowunmi (M) found guilty for the offence of murder and was ordered to be detained in prison at the pleasure of the Governor; Kalu Ojeh (M) convicted and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on each count, both sentences to run concurrently for the offences of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery; Mathew Idoko (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offence of murder and Robinson James (M) convicted and sentenced to death for the offences of conspiracy and Armed Robbery.”

Court Jails 11 For Life Over ‘Beef’ Murder

 

An Indian court has sentenced 11 men to life in prison for killing a Muslim meat trader they suspected of transporting beef, in the first convictions over so-called “cow vigilantism”.

The men, including a worker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party, were found guilty of killing Alimuddin Ansari in the eastern state of Jharkhand in June 2017.

It was one of a series of attacks related to cows, which are considered sacred by Hindus.

The men were charged with murder and rioting, among other offences, under India’s penal code and a court in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district delivered its verdict on Wednesday.

“The fast-track court handed them the life sentence yesterday,” Rajesh Kumar, a senior police officer in Ramgarh told AFP by phone on Thursday.

“It is the first case in which a court has convicted and punished (perpetrators) for cow vigilantism.”

The police officer said a dozen men were arrested over the murder but the court deferred its decision on the twelfth accused who is said to be a minor.

India has witnessed a wave of rising tensions over the killing and smuggling of cows in the Hindu-majority country, where their slaughter is a punishable offence in many states, including Jharkhand.

A number of people, particularly Muslims and low-caste Dalits, have been targeted for allegedly killing cows or consuming beef.

Similar cases of cow vigilante violence are at the trial stage, according to Indian media reports.

Human Rights Watch urged law enforcers to take prompt action with credible investigations and prosecutions in the pending cases to rein in “those responsible for hate crimes”.

“The authorities still have a long way to go before they can convince religious minorities and socially marginalised communities that justice can be assured,” it said in a statement late Wednesday.

Modi’s critics say vigilantes have been emboldened by the election in 2014 of his right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter across India.

The premier has condemned such vigilantism, saying murders in the name of protecting cows were unacceptable, but it has failed to deter some attackers.

In August, villagers in eastern India beat two Muslim cattle truckers to death on the pretext of protecting cows.

AFP

Kidnappers’ll Be Sentenced To Life Imprisonment Henceforth – Bauchi Govt.

The Bauchi State Government has declared that anyone arrested for kidnapping in Bauchi State will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

This announcement was contained in the newly amended law of the state, enacted by the Bauchi State House of Assembly.

Signed in March 2017 by the Governor, Muhammed Abubakar, the new law provides stiffer penalties for anyone convicted of kidnapping in the court of law.

According to the governor, the crime surge necessitated the new law.

Statistics from the state government showed that from 2016 till date, over 100 suspected kidnappers have been arrested in Bauchi state alone.

The Bauchi State Commissioner Of Justice, Ibrahim Umar, who explained further on the amended Penal Code, said: “The penalty generally speaking, is that anybody who abducts or kidnaps another individual and is found guilty, will be sentenced to life imprisonment; but if as a result of the kidnapping a life is lost, then death penalty will follow.”

Meanwhile, experts have advised the government to also address the problems that force these criminals into the act in the first place.

Civil Servant Gets Life Imprisonment For Raping Minor

Man Arraigned For Alleged Assault And Public Fight
File Photo

An Ado-Ekiti High Court on Wednesday sentenced a local government employee in Ekiti State, Ojo Ayodele, to life imprisonment for raping a minor.

Ayodele was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl in Ijero Ekiti.

The convict was said to have abducted the minor in the town and taken her to a secret location in the town where he subjected her to continuous sexual assault for 21 days.

Delivering her judgement, Justice Oluwatoyin Abodunde, found Ayodele guilty as charged and sentenced him to life imprisonment for raping the girl.

During the trial, the Director of Public Prosecution, Gbemiga Adaramola, prosecuted the case on behalf of the state while the convict was represented by his counsel, Tosin Osundahunsi.

The trial began on February 2, 2016, when Ayodele was brought to court on two counts of rape and abduction.

The prosecution called seven witnesses during the trial and tendered exhibits which include statements of the victim and the convict, medical report which established the rape, among others.

The convict did not call any witness apart from himself in the course of the trial.

A good Samaritan who saw bloodstains on the victim’s clothes after her ordeal had taken her to the Ijero Local Government Immigration office to report the case.

Ayodele was subsequently caught and arrested by immigration officers at the council secretariat as the victim identified him there as her abductor.

The immigration officers handed him to policemen at the Ijero Police Station where the case was reported.

The victim was living with her stepmother after her father and mother got divorced with the latter relocating to Port Harcourt.

She was said to have fled home allegedly due to her maltreatment by her stepmother after which she met Ayodele who promised to take care of her.

Court Sentences Falae’s Kidnappers To Life Imprisonment

Court Sentences Falae's Kidnappers To Life ImprisonmentAn Ondo State High Court has sentenced the seven persons accused of kidnapping a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Olu Falae, to life imprisonment.

Mr Falae was kidnapped on September 21, 2015, at his farm in Ilado, a rural agrarian settlement near Akure, the state’s capital in southwest Nigeria.

He was later released by his captors after spending four days with them.

Speaking to reporters, the prosecution counsel, Mrs Adesola Adeyemi-Tuki, said that the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence.

“Part of the ransom were found inside his (the first defendant) vehicle at Minna where he was tracked to. Also, some of them made confessional statements and there were other evidences that corroborated their statements,” Adeyemi-Tuki said.

The lead counsel to the accused, Abdulrahman Yusuf, however noted that his team would study the judgement to know the next step to take.

“We were able to knock out armed robbery and conspiracy, so they were left with kidnapping and the judgement for kidnapping is life imprisonment. They were convicted for kidnapping and thereby sentenced to life imprisonment, each of them,” he said.

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For Rapists

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For RapistsWorried by the rising cases of sexual assault against minors in Kaduna, the State Government is proposing a life jail sentence as punishment for rapists in the new Child Right Bill that has been forwarded to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Amina Sijuade, disclosed this during the commissioning of the Sexual Assault Reform Centre at Gwamna Awan General Hospital in the state capital.

The Commissioner explained that the decision became necessary, following incessant cases of rape, particularly of minors, being recorded frequently in the state.

The Commissioner, after commissioning the Sexual Assault Reform Centre, said that the centre would work closely with security agencies and hospitals in order to achieve the desired objective.

“The Ministry of Justice has already designated a gender desk officer who will prepare all legal documents for legal action for victims.

“Also, all the officials that will work at the centre have already been trained with support from the Department for International Development (DFID).

“This initiative will greatly help in curbing the alarming rate of violence and sexual assault against minors in the state,’’ she said.

She spoke further: “Already there is a review of the penal code for the 19 northern states. This initiative was chaired by myself together with all the attorney-generals of the 19 northern states. And in the penal code, what we did was we escalated the penalty for rape in response to calls by the public.

“What we are proposing is life imprisonment for rapists. Definitely it will help address the menace not just for minors but rape generally of both sexes. We emphasize the importance of traditional rulers in this fight, the community and religious leaders and lastly the media.

“Most of the reports on rape come from the communities where community and religious leaders are in charge, and the fight against it and sensitization cannot be successful without their help.

“So, they will be engaged in sensitizing their communities. The media is also crucial to this and we have commenced sensitization on radio and television. And we solicit for your cooperation.”

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre would be run by the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Social Development, Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies.

Incidences of rape are becoming rampant in Kaduna state. It is particularly disturbing that the offenders are mostly elderly men whose victims are toddlers and minors within the age range of three to six.

In most cases the suspects are related to the victims.

Generally, rape laws in a lot of countries are strictly clarified and efficient in terms of implementation. The same cannot be said of Nigeria where no capital punishment is meted against those that have been caught in such act.

Sadly, while the suspects suffer light or no punishment at all, their victims would have to contend with the trauma that comes with being a rape victim.

Christmas Day Bombing: Kabiru Sokoto Sentenced To Life Imprisonment

 A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has sentenced the mastermind of the 2011 Christmas day bombing, in Niger State, Kabiru Umar also known as Kabiru Sokoto to life imprisonment.

The incident which left 44 people dead happened at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State when a car packed with explosives rammed into the gates of the church.

The court also found Kabiru Sokoto guilty of planning to bomb the Police Headquarters in Sokoto State.

Aside the allegation that he trained over 500 men on how to manufacture and detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the Federal Government said that he had prior knowledge that the sect planned to bomb the church on Christmas day but failed to disclose it to any law enforcement officer as soon as reasonably practicable.

He was said to have between 2007 and 2012, at Mabira Sokoto, Sokoto State, facilitated the commission of terrorist acts, including planting bombs at Police Headquarters and some government organisations in the state.

Though he was previously arrested by the Police in Abuja on January 14, 2012, he was, however, declared missing two days later.

 

We Will Appeal

Counsel to Kabiru Sokoto, Sherif Okoh has however expressed reservations over the court ruling.

Speaking to Channels Television after the judgment, Sherif said: “Most of the statements that he (presiding judge) called confessional, we intend to go to the Court of Appeal and sort those things out, given the fact that our arguments on law were very clear with respect to those documents.

“For instance, the witnesses that were vital, especially the one that he (the judge) referred to as Kabiru Sokoto’s boy, did not for one day appear before this honourable court. Then the statement was dated the 19th day of November 2011, whereas he was arrested on the 20th day of November 2011. That means even before he was arrested, the statement was there waiting for him.”

He also alleged that signatures were forged in some of the documents provided in court, which indicted his client, Kabiru Sokoto.

 

Former Argentine Military Dictator, Jorge Videla, Dies At 87

Argentina’s first military dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, has died today at the age of 87.

The Argentine military dictator, who according to report killed thousands of dissidents from 1976 to 1983 died of natural causes while serving a sentence for human rights crimes.

Unrepentant till death concerning the kidnappings and murders ordered by the state, Videla accompanied by Emilio Massera and Orlando Agosti, led a military coup on March 24, 1976 that brought down the presidency of Isabel Peron, the widow of the renowned Argentine leader Juan Domingo Peron.

He became the first president of the dictatorship, a period marked by the disappearance of thousands of people, torture and the kidnapping of babies from people that had been illegally detained by the army.

Known as the Dirty War, the crackdown on leftist opponents left 30,000 kidnapped and murdered, according to human rights groups. Current government figures put the count closer to 11,000.

At the time, many Argentines tacitly supported the military regime.

Dozens of women began marching in Buenos Aires’ famous Plaza de Mayo public square, located right in front of government house, to demand information about their children that had disappeared. They would become known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a renowned human rights organisation.

Argentina came close to war with neighbouring Chile during Videla’s presidency over the sovereignty of a group of icy Patagonian islands in a border area.

But the countries also cooperated on a secret pact with other Latin American military regimes to hunt down opponents. Known as the “Operation Condor”, the accord came into effect in 1975.

When democracy returned to the South American country in 1983, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment for the human rights crimes committed during his five years at the helm of the military junta.

But he spent just five years behind bars following a pardon granted in 1990 by then president, Carlos Menem.

Eight years later, a judge scrapped Videla’s pardon, ruling that the stealing of babies constituted a human rights crime.

Videla was jailed for life in 2010 for murder, torture and kidnapping and received an additional sentence in 2012 after being convicted of devising a plan to steal infants from the “disappeared”.