A total of 31 lawyers have indicated interest in representing Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police who was suspended in connection with a $1.1 million scam involving Ramon Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi, a self-confessed fraudster.
Barrister Bappah Salisu, who spoke on behalf of a group of lawyers from the country’s 19 northern states, made the announcement in an Abuja statement on Wednesday.
The legal professionals claimed their decision to provide free legal services to Kyari was in reaction to the Coalition of Northern Groups’ recent request for the protection of his fundamental rights following an indictment by a US court.
According to him, the FBI attempted to extradite Kyari, a former Commander of the Police Intelligence Response Team, to the United States to face criminal charges, but there were significant procedural flaws bordering on international procedure.
He said, “We would raise questions involving the possibility of breaches to Kyari’s fundamental rights entrenched in Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right which essentially state that every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person and every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard.
“This comprises: the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force.
“The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent court or tribunal; the right to defence, including the right to be defended by counsel of his choice; the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or tribunal.”
He further said they would also weigh the FBI procedures against Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which entitled the embattled Kyari to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court, or other tribunal.
He said, “Subsections 9 and 10 of this section also stipulates that everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law and everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
“Also, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”