Alleged Injustice: Nigerian migrants lauguishing in Italian prisons without trial –Report

*Lucky Aghedo, lawyer and human rights campaigner, has lamented the affected inmates in Italian prisons for several years lack a basic understanding of the language and resources for legal aid

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Mr. Lucky Aghedo, a lawyer and human rights campaigner, has expressed worry over alleged detention of some  Nigerian migrants without trial in Italy.

Aghedo, who expressed this concern in a statement issued Saturday, September 24, 2022, in Lagos.

The concerned human rights said that some Nigerian and other African migrants had been in custody in Italy over the years without trial, whereas others had been serving long sentences.

Aghedo stated: “According to an Italian local newspaper, Gazzetta di Reggio, report  on the April 27, 2022,  no fewer than 36 Nigerians of Niger Delta origin, were arrested on grounds of different allegations ranging from credit card fraud to cultism, termed mafia in Italy.

“Since this widely publicised mass and coordinated arrest, as others had previously been detained, the suspects have not been tried.”

The rights campaigner also said: “Most unfortunately, these inmates lack a basic understanding of the language and resources for legal aid.

“Mafia cases are similar to terrorism charges, which carry lengthier sentences.”

He also explained while some elements of criminal involvement could not be denied for some of the detainees, others were likely innocent.

He explained some  Nigerian migrants had also been alleged to be carrying out cultism, flashing machetes, and other dangerous weapons of intimidation.

Aghedo further stated: “These innocent parties have regular and permanent jobs, and they may have been roped in due to certain association.”

He contended that the “cases should be judged on individual merits rather than place all suspects and detainees under one straight jacket.”

According to him, detaining those who might be complicit for a prolonged period without trial, breached fundamental human rights.

The activist urged that in line with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5, Section 1 C and 3, the suspects should be tried speedily or released if there was nothing incriminating to warrant their detention.

He said: “Prevention of crime is justification for arrest and restraint of liberties.

“However,  there ought to be a structure for suspects to be tried conclusively within a reasonable time.”

The rights activist as well alleged that the Italian Government ‘rained down on them with a heavy hand.’

The system allowed some migrants residence permit, mostly through asylum process, but failed to create a systematic integration process, as obtainable in some other countries, said he.

The lawyer-activist added: “Many migrants resort to hawking, begging and other anti-social behaviours to the chagrin of host communities.

“One must take cognisance of the trauma and scars borne by many of the survivors of the dangerous crossings and trafficking.”

The lawyer noted that the survivors ought to have received counselling or therapy to heal their damaged psychology.

“It is an issue that has exacerbated most of the anti-social behaviours,” he stated.

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