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Blogger arrested over critical posts, held incommunicado

(WiPC/IFEX) - The following is a 29 October 2008 WiPC press release:

NIGERIA: Blogger detained incommunicado, fears for health

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN protests the detention of the US-based blogger Jonathan Elendu, who has been held incommunicado without charge in Abuja, Nigeria, since 17 October 2008. There are fears for his health following reports of ill treatment. The WiPC believes that Elendu has been detained for his critical reporting on Nigeria. It calls on the Nigerian authorities to charge Elendu with a recognisable criminal offense or to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Jonathan Elendu, a US-based Nigerian news blogger for ( ), was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) on his arrival in Abuja for a family visit on 17 October. It is understood that he has not yet been charged, in contravention of Nigerian law which stipulates that anyone arrested must be charged in court within 48 hours. He has also been denied access to legal and medical assistance.

Initially investigated for "money laundering", Elendu was then reportedly accused of unspecified "acts of sedition". He has now apparently been transferred from SSS custody to that of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which may suggest that he still faces a charge of money laundering or corruption.

Some reports suggest that Elendu has been ill-treated and his health is in jeopardy. On 28 October, the Nigeria Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) stated that Elendu had been "tortured to either disclose the sources of the several embarrassing news reports on prominent political leaders in Nigeria" and had gone on hunger strike.

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