Supreme Court Nullifies Life Sentence of Lebanese Charged with Terrorism






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The Supreme Court ‎on Friday upheld an appeal by Tahal Roda, a Lebanese, challenging his sentence to life imprisonment for terrorism by an Abuja Federal High Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that an Abuja Federal High Court had jailed Roda for life following allegations of terrorist activities bordering on illegal importation of firearms.
The sentence was sequel to the uncovering of a large stockpile of arms in a building in Kano allegedly owned by some Lebanese and their subsequent arrest and prosecution.
Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Musa Datijo held that the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court lacked geographical jurisdiction to sit in a case that happened in Kano and nullified it forthwith.
The court further held that there was no link between the charges brought by the Federal Government and the appellant that could have warranted his conviction.
The appellant was arrested by security agents in 2013 and charged to court with fellow Lebanese, Mustapha Fawaz and Abdullah Thani, co-owners in Abuja-based Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park.
Fawaz and Thani were later set free of the charges by the trial court which, however, convicted and sentenced Roda.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, Roda approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which also upheld the lower court’s decision.
Again, dissatisfied with the Appeal Court’s decision, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), Roda’s counsel, proceeded to the Supreme Court.
Raji had, in his submission before the apex court, argued that the trial court lacked geographical jurisdiction ‎to hear and convict his client and the charge against him was unknown to Nigerian law.
Opposing the prosecution’s submission that his client was a member of Hezbollah, a terrorist organisation, Raji contended that Hezbollah had not been declared so by the Nigerian Government.

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