Africa

Nigeria criticized after court death sentence by Zoom

At a virtual court hearing on Monday, Olalekan Hameed was found guilty of murdering his mother's employer in 2018 and was sentenced to death by hanging. A judge at a court in Lagos delivered the ruling to Hameed, who appeared remotely from prison via Zoom, along with his lawyer and prosecutors who also joined the hearing remotely, justice ministry spokesman Kayode Oyekanmi told CNN.Hameed, who denied the charge, remains in prison, Oyekanmi said. CNN was trying to reach the suspect and his lawyer for comment.The court held the session via Zoom to comply with the state's social distancing guidelines to curb coronavirus.Amnesty International Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho slammed the country's use of the death penalty and questioned why Monday's hearing couldn't be delayed. "We know many courts are exploring how they can continue cases virtually, but the challenge is how much thought has been given to the process for virtual court sittings," Ojigho said. "In this case, could this sentencing not be delayed to another time?" "Can we say justice was seen to be done in this case, did the public have access to this session? It's worth exploring if the processes that led to the virtual sitting followed the principle of natural justice and a fair hearing."Oyekanmi declined to respond to criticism of the hearing, as did a spokeswoman for the Lagos state judiciary.Read More – Source

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