Rights activists petition Blinken to help free Nigerian reporters

On the 40th anniversary of Imprisoned Writer’s DayThe Secretary of State’s sign-on petition to Antony Blinken seeks his help in releasing contributors to the Epoch Times of Nigeria. On that day, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is also holding an event to call attention to the arrest of journalists.

Luka Binniyat was arrested in Kaduna, Nigeria on November 4, and charged with “cyberstalking” under a law ridiculed by critics who aimed to silence opposition journalists.

Vinyat, 52, was a member of the “Cyberstalking” committee of the Magistrates’ Court of Kaduna, Secretary of State Samuel Alwan, on November 9, in a village in southern Kaduna on September 26.

Cyberstalking is, under Nigerian law, “an act of threatening, harassing, or annoying someone through multiple email messages, such as the Internet, especially the act of fearing the recipient to be illegal or injured.” Is defined as. According to “Recipient”, ResearchGate.

Hudson religious freelance scholar Nina Shay said, “A victim of a’cyberstalker’by a reporter in a small town, based on an article written by a powerful security commissioner in Kaduna for an American audience. It’s ridiculous to claim that. ” Laboratory.

“Nigeria’s cyberstalking crime was basically defined as making something sent over the Internet feel” frustrated “and aimed at the infamous Nigerian phishing attack,” Shea said. I told Epoch Times. “In this case, the accusations that the Security Commissioner is the victim are transparently overwhelmed and aim to isolate him from even the mildest media criticism.”

“Abiodun Ashiru, a legal scholar at Lagos State University, has published a well-studied journal article that actually proves that the cyber stalking clause is a” legal restriction on the right to freedom of expression in Nigeria. ” Shea says.

NS Petition Secretary of State Blinken, who will visit the heads of state of Kenya and Nigeria this week, urges Secretary of State Muhammad Blinken of Nigeria to reconsider the indictment of a reporter informing American readers of national security issues.

“”Save the persecuted ChristianCalled during this week’s visit to Nigeria, a large coalition of human rights advocates, to express serious concerns about the current terrible violations of speech and press in Nigeria and what the Nigerian government did not provide. increase. According to a petition over the name of Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, protection and justice for the Christian community targeted by the murderous attacks by aggressive Fula herders.

The sign-on letter further states:

“Arrest and injustice detention Luka Vinyat’s “cyberstalker,” a contract journalist for a U.S.-based news agency and an internationally respected voice for persecuted believers, was imprisoned on ridiculous charges by journalists. It’s just the latest example.

“Vignat unfairly reported on religion-based violence prevailing in Nigeria, refused to admit victims of these atrocities, and called for incompetent officials who refused to prosecute the responsible person. Join the growing class of detained journalists. The international pressure to release Nigeria must be swift and harsh.

“Vignat’s universal abuse of human rights against freedom of expression and opinion only helps to further weaken the voice of independent journalists who make important reports of religious violence prevailing in Nigeria at the time. Vignat’s detention, which he was writing for the American audience, reduced the US free press by Nigerian authorities and provided the information decisively needed by the West to ensure completeness and take appropriate action. A blatant effort to prevent sharing. The degree of persecution in Nigeria, America’s most important partner in Africa. “

Laugesen said the petition posted on Friday had a “good response.”

Hudson Shea is one of the growing list of critics seeking the release of Vinyat. “This case aims to silence the reporter and divert attention from the serious subject matter of his coverage. The court should immediately release Luka Binniyat and withdraw these frivolous accusations,” Shea said. Says.

Vignat’s arrest is covered by The Epoch Times, Sahara Reporter, When Christian Post— All US-based publications — However, there are only a handful of newspapers based in Nigeria itself and no TV channels. In contrast, the 2017 arrest and defamation trial of Vanguard News, who was the director of Vanguard News, was widely reported by the Nigerian media.

“Most Nigerian media have refused to report the proceedings for fear of government retaliation,” Kyle Abz, managing director of the Nigerian International Commission, wrote in The Epoch Times.

As a development related to the arrest of Vinyat, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission will hold a webinar briefing on November 15th at 3:00 pm on the illegal imprisonment of journalists, writers and scholars around the world. Co-sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat James P. McGovern and New Jersey Congressman Christopher H. Smith, this virtual briefing will be open to Congressmen, MPs, interested civilians, and the media.Please register to participate here..

In hearings, we combined the research of three organizations, PEN America, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Committee to Protect Journalists at Risk, to increase the number of writers and ideological leaders imprisoned to express themselves. Raise awareness about. The three groups document that the number of imprisoned journalists and writers has increased significantly over the last two years.

Douglas Burton


Douglas Burton is a former US State Department employee stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq.He writes news and commentary from Washington DC