Sowore gets support from US neighbours as trial begins today

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The trial of Omoyele Sowore, founder of Sahara Reporters, may begin in Abuja today, just as his neighbours in the United States of America, have organized a rally calling for his release.

The journalist is standing trial on charges that followed his August 3 arrest while he was organizing a peaceful pro-democracy protest. 

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include organizing a protest, insulting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and transferring U.S. money to a Nigerian account. 

Sowore is the founder of Sahara Reporters, a pro-democracy, anti-corruption online news service that has been critical of the Nigerian government.

Since his August arrest, he has been held in a prison in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos.

The requirements of his bail, set at $829,000, prevent Sowore from talking to the press. 

During his time in prison, his wife, Opeyemi, and their two children have received support from their Haworth neighbors, who helped organize an event on October 28 near Borough Hall, calling for safe release and return to the U.S.  

Sowore told NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey that she was “truly humbled by the outpouring of support and prayers from my community.

The tie-a-ribbon gathering last week brought such comfort and strength to our family.”

She said their father’s imprisonment and trial has been “very hard” on their children. 

“They miss their father dearly. We continue to pray for his safe return home to us in New Jersey,” Sowore said.

Sowore said her husband is being represented in court by Femi Falana, a human rights attorney and activist, and the legal team for him will update her about the trial.

 A judge in Nigeria’s Federal High Court called for an expedited trial that could end as soon as Friday. 

Sowore’s supporters

Omoyele Sowore’s family and supporters have also called upon their congressional representatives to help get the 48-year-old journalist back to New Jersey.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who represents Sowore’s district in Congress, said, “We’ve continued to be in close touch with the State Department and with Mr. Sowore’s family as this has developed.”  

Expressing support for Sowore have been organizations including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa. 

California Rep. Karen Bass said in a statement, “I stand with the human rights and international community in declaring that the continued detainment of Mr. Omoyele Sowore is a flagrant violation of his human rights.”

Culled from USA Today

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