11 December 2012

Nigerian to Be Cleared of Terrorism Charges in the Netherlands

Terrorism charges against Sunny Ofehe, a Nigerian activist living in the Netherlands, will be dropped, says the Dutch public prosecutor's office.

In a letter to Ofehe's lawyers, the case's prosecutors write that they will ask the court to clear the defendant of terrorism charges. They say that a new translation of a tapped telephone call and a new witness account have "weakened" the suspicion that Ofehe wanted to carry out attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta.

In early 2011, the Dutch public prosecutor, the Openbaar Ministerie, charged Ofehe with planning to blow up oil pipelines and thus of conspiring to commit terrorist acts in Nigeria's oil-producing region. He is the first person to be charged with terrorism since the Netherlands passed an anti-terrorism law in 2004.

During his trial, Ofehe alleged that an inaccurate summary of a tapped telephone call in Pidgin English had led to his wrongfully being accused of terrorism.

Reaction from Ofehe

In a reaction to the news that the terrorism charges will be dropped, Ofehe told RNW: "There is nothing to celebrate about the news! I have never been a terrorist and will never be one. This case is politically motivated to destroy my character ... it is clear that the damage has already been done, but I will ensure that justice is served so that other innocent people will not have to walk this path."

He added: "I want to thank all those who believed in me from the very beginning, and I am happy that I never let them down."

Ofehe's trial will resume at a later date, as he still stands accused of other charges, including smuggling a Nigerian citizen into the Netherlands and two charges related to the falsification of documents in order to obtain housing and a bank loan.

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