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Save Olufemi

Post  Jennie on Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:51 pm

Save Olufemi

Sulaimon Olufemi, 28, is now on death row in Saudi Arabia. He and 12 other Nigerians were tried for the alleged murder of a policeman in Jeddah in 2002. The other 12 were sentenced to varying jail terms and corporal punishment, but the court slammed the death sentence on Olufemi. The Saudi Arabian Human Rights Commission claims that the Supreme Judicial Council has ratified it. Olufemi could therefore be executed any moment from now.

His trial was conducted in secret and in Arabic, a language he does not understand. Besides, he had no access to any legal representation or consular assistance. Amnesty International (AI) is so worried about the irregularities in Olufemi's trial that it has appealed to the federal government to pressure the Saudis to commute the sentence.

Where was the Nigerian mission in Riyadh when the questionable trial was going on? Now that AI has blown the whistle, the citizen diplomacy advocated by foreign affairs minister Ojo Maduekwe should be used to prevail on the Saudis to ensure that they do not execute the sentence. Saudi Arabia is a friendly country.

(source: Editorial, Leadership)

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