"The pain of torture is unbearable. I never thought I'd live to this day. The pain I suffered in the hands of officials is unimaginable. In all my life, I had never been through such an inhumane treatment." - Moses, February 2014
Moses Akatugba, from the Delta state in Nigeria, was 16 years old when he was arrested in 2005 for assault, a crime he says he never committed.
During his detention, Moses was tortured daily. He was tied up, beaten and hung for several hours in the interrogation room, having his hand and toenails pulled out. After three months in these degrading conditions, Moses signed a false confession letter written by the local police.
In November 2013, after eight years waiting for trial, Moses was sentenced to death penalty by hanging. The case's investigations are filled with contradictions and his defense arguments were never investigated.
In Nigeria, death penalty is applied to armed robbery, however, if the crime does not involve intentional murder, it does not fall into the capital crime category of international laws. Furthermore, according to international and regional legislation, those who are under 18 at the time of the crime cannot be sentenced to death penalty.
For the Governor of the Delta State in Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel,
I write to demonstrate my concern in regards to Moses Akatugba's situation, sentenced to death penalty on November 2013 for a crime, which he allegedly committed when he was 16 years old, which contradicts the legal specifications of the Nigerian and international laws. The judicial process which led to this sentence presents several irregularities: the sentence is solely based on Moses' confession, obtained under torture, and on a witness' account which also reveals several contradictions. Moses was submitted to torture practices and several forms of degrading treatment, in several occasions, held by the state police of Delta.
I call for:
- An annulment of Moses' death penalty sentence, and
- A guarantee that independent investigations be held for Moses' torture denunciations.
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