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Court Sentence Protesters To Prison For Protesting At Court Premises

Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

An Imo State Customary Court sitting in Amuzi, Mbaise, has sentenced seven persons to 10 days imprisonment for protesting at the court premises

The protesters were demonstrating with placards outside the courtroom during hearing

The court chairman, Kingsley Ekeh Esq ordered for their remand during the hearing of Suit No. CC/AA/25/2021: Reginald Uzodinma Onwusiri & Anor v Muduabuchi Ibeh & Ors.

It was said that despite the constitutional right to peaceful protest, as pointed out by lawyers present at the scene, the chairman of the court maintained that the protesters did not have the right to demonstrate outside the court, claiming that the content of their placards was against the tenets of the court.

Ekeh, visibly angry, lured the protesters into the court under the pretense of discussing the matter but instead remanded each of them to 10 days imprisonment.

It was said that the situation escalated when the chairman ordered armed police officers to enter the courtroom.

It was also reported that a policeman slapped one of the protesters inside the courtroom.

They alleged that the chairman of the court endorsed the assault, shouting that the protesters could take the matter anywhere they liked.

The actions of the chairman and the police have drawn criticism from legal experts and human rights activists, who argue that the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

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