“Jones Abiri’s arrest, detention, and subsequent criminal prosecution is a stain on Nigeria’s press freedom record, but the court’s decision to end the case against him is an important and positive step,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “The Nigerian government should seize this opportunity to take further action to improve conditions for journalists and ensure they can work without fear of arrest or prosecution.”
In a separate legal decision on September 13, a federal high court in Abuja held that the Department of State Security’s detention of Abiri was illegal and violated his fundamental human rights, Ogala told CPJ. The court ordered the federal government to pay Abiri 10.5 million naira (US$29,000) in damages and litigation fees, according to Ogala and Marshal Abubakar, another lawyer representing Abiri.
Jones Abiri, pictured third from left with his legal team, speaks to the media on September 5. An Abuja court has dismissed the case against the Nigerian journalist. (CPJ/Jonathan Rozen)