*Says leader of DSS delegation that stormed courtroom apologised to judge
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Femi Falana SAN, lawyer to detained activist and convener #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore on Sunday countered the claim of the Department of State Service (DSS) that it never invaded Court 7 presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu last Friday in its bid to rearrest Sowore.
Sowore was on Friday rearrested less than 24 hours after his release from DSS custody at the Federal High Court Abuja.
His rearrest by the security operatives has led to strong condemnation from both within and outside the country, forcing the DSS to come out on Saturday to deny that its men ever entered inside the court room for the arrest of Sowore.
However Falana in countering the position of the security agency as contained in a press statement issued by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, said the claim of the Service was not true as their were documentary evidence to the contrary.
Falana, SAN said aside the technological evidences, the head of the DSS delegation to the court that fateful Friday had apologised to Justice Ojukwu over the incidence.
“However, the following facts underscore our insistence that the Service was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court:
“By the advantage of information technology, the whole world has placed responsibility for the gangsteric desecration of the court on the SSS. The SSS cannot extricate itself from the abominable acts of 6th December, 2019.
“When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.
“As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court. Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases. After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers.
“When the lead prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN denied knowledge of the invasion of her court she directed him to invite the head of the sss team in the court. When challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer could not. He apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the sss. The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the sss operatives from the court room.
“The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house”, Falana claimed in his statement.
While insisting that the DSS was wrong to have arrested Sowore that day without a warrant of arrest or a fresh charge, Falana however called for the unconditional release of Sowore and others like him from DSS custody.
He assured that illegal arrest and detention would be fought with everything just aa was done under military rule.
“In the light of the foregoing we reiterate our demand for the release of not only Sowore in obedience to court orders, pending the verdict of the court in their trial. We equally call for the release of all other political detainees, and criminal sispects who have been admitted to bail pending trial by competent courts.
“Finally, it is common knowledge that this country was ruled by military dictators for about three decades. On no occassion did security operatives invade court premises to arrest political activists inside a court room. Therefore, the bizarre harassment of courts cannot be tolerated under a democratically government that claims to operate under the rule of law”, he said.