Femi Falana Human rights lawyer urges police to stop public parade of suspects

The human rights lawyer has urged the Nigerian police to stop the parading of suspect before the press prior to them being pronounced guilty by the court.

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Femi Falana play Femi Falana says the parading of crime suspects before the press is illegal. (Punch)
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Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has urged the Nigerian police to stop the parade of suspected armed robbers, kidnappers and other alleged criminals before the press prior to charging them to court.

The Nigerian police and other security agencies are known for parading suspects of various crimes before the press after arrests. The human right lawyer however called it “illegal” and said the parades were not prejudicial. He said parading suspects is offensive to the constitutional provision which stated that a suspect was to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise before a competent court of law.

He also blamed journalist who report news of the parades saying that they are were just as complicit as the police in executing the “overzealous, irresponsible and illegal parade of suspects.”

Falana also noted an observation that only the poor suspects are paraded by the police while suspects who are connected to members of the elite are never paraded. The human right lawyer said that this inconsistency with parades shows that it is an inhuman act to oppress the poor, who do not have the resources to challenge the police in court.

Falana also accused the police of killing most of the paraded suspects in detention extra-judicially and thereafter urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba to put an end to the parading and illegal killing of suspects.

In spite of the presumption of innocence, which inures in favour of criminal suspects by virtue of Section 36 of the Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act, the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria have continued to expose accused persons to media trial before arraigning them in courts. By subjecting suspects to media trial before arraignment in a criminal court, their fundamental rights to fair hearing and the dignity of their persons are infringed upon,” Falana said while addressing newsmen on Tuesday, January 13.

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