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Court gives new directive in Nigeria, all terrorism cases to be behind closed door

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In Nigeria, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared that all trials of terrorism cases in Nigeria will henceforth be held in camera.

The order, given in a statement titled “new practice directions on hearing of terrorism cases”, was given by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, who stated that “the perimeters of the court sitting over a terrorism trial shall henceforth be secured for the period of the trial for the safety of the litigants and the court officials”.

The court directive came on the eve of the expected ruling on the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian government which hears today, Friday, April 8.

Thus, Kanu’s case, which is usually attended by a large number of supporters, activists, and observers will be the first casualty of this new directive.

The directory also declared that “No person shall be allowed within the secured perimeters save the approved Court officials; parties and a number of pre-registered legal practitioners on either side, witnesses; and any other person as may be directed by the Judge or the most Senior Judge in the given circumstances”

According to the Chief Information Officer of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Catherine Christopher, the “Practice Directions seek to provide measures that will ensure the security and safety of parties; personnel of law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary; as well as members of the general public; while ensuring expeditious and fair trial of persons suspected of having committed acts of terrorism.”

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Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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