Global rights group, Amnesty International, has called on the Nigerian government and the Department of State Services ( DSS ) to “immediately and unconditionally release” five human rights activists who were arrested on July 4, 2021, at Dunamis International Gospel Centre Abuja for wearing #BuhariMustGo shirts to the church.
The activists, who have spent nine days in custody, were not allowed to access their lawyers and family members after being tortured and brutalized by the church security before being handed over to DSS operatives.
In a terse statement on its Twitter account on Monday, Amnesty International called on the government and DSS to immediately and unconditionally release the arrested individuals.
The statement reads, “Amnesty International calls on Nigeria authorities to immediately release five protesters unlawfully detained since Sunday from Dunamis Church Abuja. 1- Emmanuel Larry, 2- Victor Anne Udoka, 3- Samuel Gabriel Iwatannaye (Blind Saxophonist), 4- Henry Nwodo and 5- Ben Manasseh.
“Protest is not a crime, and the authorities must respect their rights.”
Family members of the detained activists and civil society groups had on Sunday staged a peaceful protest at the Galadimawa branch of the church to demand their release.
The group said the arrest and continued detention of the activists violated their fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and freedom of movement as guaranteed under Sections 39, 40, 41, respectively, in the Nigerian constitution and other international conventions and treaties.