Man sentenced to death via Zoom in Nigeria
A man in Nigeria has been sentenced to death via the video conferencing app Zoom, sparking criticism from human rights groups.
In a virtual court hearing last week on Monday, Olalekan Hameed was found guilty of murdering his mother’s employer in 2018 and was sentenced to death by hanging.
Hameed appeared remotely from prison via Zoom, along with his lawyer and prosecutors who also joined the hearing remotely.
FLASH: Lagos State Judiciary with Ministry of Justice recorded the first virtual court session to deliver the judgment of one Olalekan Hameed who was sentenced to death by hanging….. The Virtual Court Session is in line with the #COVID19Lagos directives. pic.twitter.com/kVbOeSKWLI
— Gawat Jubril A. (@Mr_JAGss) May 5, 2020
Amnesty International Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho slammed the country’s use of the death penalty and questioned why the hearing could not be delayed.
“We know many courts are exploring how they can continue cases virtually, but the challenge is how much thought has been given to the process for virtual court sittings. In this case, could this sentencing not be delayed to another time?” Ojigho
“Can we say justice was seen to be done in this case, did the public have access to this session? It’s worth exploring if the processes that led to the virtual sitting followed the principle of natural justice and a fair hearing.” CNN quoted her.
ON DEATH ROW
Amnesty International is now calling for the death penalty to be abolished in Nigeria, where there are nearly 3,000 people on death row.
According to a report released in April by Amnesty International, the number of confirmed death sentences handed down in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 53%, from 212 in 2018 to 325 in 2019.
This was due to increases recorded in 10 countries – Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Overall, death sentences were confirmed in 18 countries in 2019, an increase of one compared to 2018.
In 2019, four countries in the region – Botswana, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan – carried out executions in their territories despite a 5% reduction in known executions in the world.