Nigerian journalist detained since August on cybercrime charge

Abuja, September 16, 2020 – Nigerian authorities should immediately release journalist Ime Sunday Silas, drop the charges against him, and reform the country’s cybercrime act to ensure it is not used against the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On August 17, police in Uyo city, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Akwa-Ibom state, arrested Silas, an editor with the privately owned Global Concord newspaper and publisher of the news website The Profile, according to Solomon Johnny, Global Concord’s editor-in-chief, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

Silas was arrested after he arrived in the Ikot Akpan Abia district of Uyo to meet a source, and officers detained him at a nearby police headquarters, Johnny told CPJ.

On August 18, a local magistrate court charged Silas under Section 24 of Nigeria’s 2015 cybercrime act, according to Johnny and a copy of the charge sheet reviewed by CPJ. The court denied Silas bail on August 18, but his lawyers filed a new bail application on August 24, which was granted on September 10, Emmanuel Isangidoho, one of Silas’ lawyers, told CPJ via phone and messaging app.

Despite being granted bail,…

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