Thursday, December 25, 2014

More death sentences in Nigeria, with a twist

Four more soldiers have been sentenced to death by firing squad in Nigeria. This time there is an interesting twist: they pleaded double jeopardy on the ground that they had previously been convicted by their commanding officer at a summary trial. Premium Times has details here:
According to a source familiar with the trial, “the allegation against the soldiers was that they asked “inciting questions” from their Commanding Officer of 81 Battalion when he addressed them on September 14, 2013.
“The questions pertained to the corpses of some of their colleagues brought to the camp after they were killed by the Boko Haram terrorists due to lack of weapons. The charge of mutiny was that the 5 soldiers “incited soldiers of 81 Bn to mutiny against the authority of 7 Division of Nigerian Army”.
They pleaded double jeopardy that they had been tried summarily by their commanding officer, convicted and sentenced and that they had served the punishment, our source said.
“The record of proceedings of the earlier trial was tendered and admitted in evidence by the court-martial. But the court-martial headed by Brig-General M.S Yusuf did not consider the defence of the soldiers,” the source added.
The dual jeopardy provision at issue is s. 171, Armed Forces Act

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