Nigerian activist and former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore appears at the federal high court in Abuja, Nigeria, December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
LAGOS (Reuters) – A Nigerian activist and former presidential candidate whose continued detention prompted protests by rights groups was released on bail late on Thursday, the news organisation that he founded said on Twitter.
Omoyele Sowore, who ran for president in the February election in which former military ruler President Muhammadu Buhari secured a second term in office, was arrested in August and in September pleaded not guilty to charges of treason, money laundering and harassing the president.
His continued detention despite being granted bail in October has led to criticism of Buhari’s administration and claims that human rights have been flouted in this case and those of other high-profile figures.
Among other cases, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Shi’ite Muslim group has been held since 2015 without a trial.
The Department for State Security did not release Sowore for several weeks because it said his bail conditions had not been met. But on Thursday a court in the capital, Abuja, said he must be released within 24 hours.
“He was released on Thursday evening after the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered his release for the third time,” stated a tweet by Sahara Reporters, the online Nigerian news organisation Sowore founded.
His trial is due to resume on Friday.
Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by David Goodman