The Libyan authorities have accepted to stop the execution of Nigerians on death row in Libya, pending the final determination of the case brought by SERAP before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Banjul, The Gambia.
The decision by Libya followed a provisional measure issued by the African Commission ordering the government to suspend the execution of Nigerians on death row in that country. The Commission is the body charged with overseeing states parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The information on the compliance by Libya with the Commission’s provisional measures was contained in a paper titled Debating the death penalty—experiences from different regions, dated 25 September 2009 and presented by a member of the African Commission, Ms Catherine Modupe Atoki at the International Peace Institute in New York in October 2009.
In the paper, Ms Atoki said that “Early September this year, a communication was filed with the African Commission against Libya by a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
It alleged that over 200 Nigerians are on death row for offences ranging from immigration, murder, drug and armed robbery. The Commission requested from the President of Libya a provisional measure to stay execution pending the determination of the communication.
Happily, the President obliged and for now there is a hold on the execution of the convicted persons.
” It would be recalled that SERAP had through its Solicitor Mr Femi Falana filed before the African Commission a communication dated 6 September 2009 alleging “serious, persistent and irreparable violations of the Complainants’ rights to life; to communicate with their embassy or consular post; to competent and effective legal representation; to trial within a reasonable time or to a release; to trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law; to the presumption of innocence; to an interpreter and to translation; to appeal to an independent and impartial tribunal, and fair trial guarantees during appeals.”