Amnesty, others condemn re-arrest of Bayelsa journalist.
Amnesty International (AI), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Concerned Nigerians Group have condemned the re-arrest of Yenagoa, Bayelsa-based journalist, Abiri Jones, by suspected operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), describing the action as humiliating and unacceptable.
In a tweet yesterday, the global organization said since March 30, no information had been disclosed by the Nigerian government on the whereabouts or reasons for the fresh incarceration.
It noted: “Only last year, Abiri Jones was released after painful two years in DSS detention without access to family or lawyers.”
CPJ’s Programme Director, Angela Quintal, called on the federal and state authorities to offer clues to his present locality and rationale behind the new development.
She urged the government to ensure that Abiri’s rights were not “violated yet again and that due process is respected.”
The editor and publisher of the weekly Source newspaper were arrested in 2016 and released last August following campaigns by local and international rights organizations.
Abiri underwent two suits before his freedom last year. While a court threw out the case against him for lack of jurisdiction, another ordered the secret police to pay him damages for his illegal detention and violation of rights.
According to an eyewitness, the journalist was in company of some colleagues at his Azikoro junction office when the armed men in a white Hilux van and a black Prado SUV bundled him into one of the vehicles and drove off.
While his location remains unknown, the DSS, was, however, yet to comment on the development as at press time.
In his reaction, the convener of Concerned Nigerians Group, Prince Deji Adeyanju, said: “We condemn in its entirety the Gestapo manner in which Jones Abiri was re-arrested by suspected men of the DSS.
“We condemn the continued ill-treatment and intimidation of Mr. Abiri, who was performing his civic duties of gathering information for the public and holding government accountable.
“The re-arrest of journalist Abiri, who was released a few months ago by a competent court of jurisdiction after prolonged incarceration by the DSS, is a clear affront on press freedom.”