On 26 May 2010, human rights defender Mr Justine Ijeomah was assaulted by a police officer while in detention at Mile One Police Station in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Justine Ijeomah is the Secretary of the Rivers State branch of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), a non-governmental human rights organisation which aims to enhance human rights awareness in Nigeria.
On the afternoon of 26 May 2010, Justine Ijeomah was arrested and detained at Mile One police station in Port Harcourt, reportedly after a youth for whom he acted as surety failed to report to the police station at an agreed time.
According to Justine Ijeomah, he was taken from his cell and seated behind the counter in the police station and assaulted by a police officer who repeatedly banged his head against a wall.
Subsequent to the intervention of his lawyer, who had been alerted to his detention, Justine Ijeomah was released without charge having been detained for approximately two hours. Following his release, Justine Ijeomah was admitted to Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, where he spent the night receiving medical attention for his injuries.
Previously, on 23 April 2010, Justine Ijeomah was subjected to assault and harassment when he and three other CLO activists were stopped in their vehicle by five police officers. While the vehicle was being searched, one police officer allegedly threatened the men, and assaulted Justine Ijeomah. The four human rights defenders were taken to Olu Obasanjo police station before later being released.
Furthermore, on 3 April 2010, at approximately 8pm, the home of Justine Ijeomah was reportedly visited by six gunmen in a black Nissan Quest, who entered his home and searched for him. The incident was subsequently reported to the Mile One Police Station in Port Harcourt.
Front Line believes that the arrest and assault of Justine Ijeomah are directly related to his work in defence of human rights. Front Line sees this as part of a pattern of ongoing harassment against Justine Ijeomah. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Justine Ijeomah.
Source: Frontline Defenders