NIGERIA. COURT SENTENCES 15 TO DEATH BY HANGING FOR MURDERS
April 20, 2005: the Abakaliki high court, Nigeria, sentenced 15 people to death by hanging for killing three over a land dispute.
"After a general review of this case, the evidence of the prosecuting witnesses and the defence of the accused persons ... I hereby come to the conclusion that the death of the deceased was caused by the unlawful act of the accused persons," presiding judge Paul Elechi was quoted as saying.
"The sentence of this court is that you shall be hanged by the neck until you will be dead," he added.
Twenty-seven persons were prosecuted for the October 13, 1997 murders of the three persons following a dispute over the ownership of a piece of land in their community. The court discharged and acquitted 12 of the suspects but convicted the remaining 15. Defence counsel Emeka Uwakwe said he would appeal the sentence. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 21/04/2005)