Boko Haram suspects convicted in mass trials


More than 200 people were convicted in Nigeria on charges related to their involvement with militant Islamist group Boko Haram, the justice ministry said.

The convictions of 205 people in mass trials marks the conclusion of the second stage of the country’s biggest legal challenge to Boko Haram, which began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state in north-eastern Nigeria.
“Most were convicted for professing to belong to the terrorist group or concealing information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance that could lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of Boko Haram members,” the justice ministry said in a statement.

Jail terms ranged from three to 60 years, said the ministry.

It added a total of 526 people allegedly affiliated with Boko Haram were released for rehabilitation during the second stage and said 73 cases were adjourned.

More than 20,000 people were killed and two million forced to flee since the insurgency began.

Humanitarian groups criticise the Nigerian authorities’ handling of some detainees for infringing on the suspects’ rights.

Some whose cases were heard last week at a detention centre in central Nigeria were held without trial since 2010, according to the justice ministry, adding some were released for lack of evidence.

In October, the ministry said 45 people suspected of Boko Haram links were convicted and jailed. A further 468 suspects were discharged and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja or Minna.