After spending seven days in detention, Owerri magistrate court Friday “discharged and acquited” all 128 detained Biafra women arrested last week during a peaceful protest.
Breaking : Court frees detained 128 Biafra women
Chief Magistrate, Mrs. A. Katurumba freed 112 of the women at a reduced hearing of the matter.
The court had earlier on Thursday discharged 16 of the women after finding them not guilty.
Confirming their release to Wawa News Global, lead Counsel to the women, Aloy Ejimakor, said the matter was re-listed based on the joint request of defense Counsels and the office of Imo Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ejimakor said the DPP had taken a decision late Thursday to discontinue with the case.
He said that before the hearing resumed, he had earlier led a team of other lawyers to Owerri Prisons to execute the production warrant for the detainees.
” So, when hearing commenced, the DPP rose in open court and informed the court that the State has no evidence to proceed with the case, whereupon the Magistrate ordered that the women be released immediately”, he said.
Recall that the arrest and detention of the women had drawn national and international condemnation as they were allegedly kept under inhuman conditions.
Their relations were reportedly denied access to them at the Owerri prison as the prison officials turned them back with the provisions and toiletries they had brought.
When pictures of some of the women allegedly menstruating without sanitary pads went viral on the social media, both the state and federal government came under fire and intense international pressure to free them.
The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) had last Sunday, threatened to resort to civil disobedience if by Monday the women were not released unconditionally.
But the police hurriedly arraigned them before the magistrate court that same Monday, slamming ten count charge bordering on terrorism and breach of public peace against them.
But the Chief Magistrate had struck out three of the charges bordering on terrorism.
She had also berated the prosecution for bringing the matter to a magistrate court when it knew the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
She had however ordered that the women be remanded in prison custody and referred the matter to DPP for onward transmission to the High court.
The women some of who were in their late 60s and 70s were demanding a date for Biafra referendum as well as the release of IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu before they were arrested by the police.
Kanu’s whereabouts has remained a subject of controversy since September 2017 after his Afaraukwu Umuahia country home was raided by federal troops.
Scores of IPOB members also lost their lives during the raid although the military authorities have continued to deny any involvement.
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