Nigerian authorities' death penalty via Zoom branded 'cruel and inhumane'
A virtual court sitting

Authorities in Nigeria have been branded 'cruel and inhumane' by Human Rights Watch after they sentenced a man to death via the video call app Zoom.

The ruling was given out by Lagos judge Mojisola Dada to Olaleken Hameed who had been found guilty of murdering his boss's 76-year-old mother in 2018.

The near three-hour trial, which was also attended by lawyers and the attorney general was conducted entirely on Zoom and resulted in Hameed being sentenced to death by hanging.

Of the sentence, Judge Dada said:

The sentence of this court upon you, Olalekan Hameed, is that you be hanged by the neck until you be pronounced dead … This is the virtual judgment of the court.

Although it is not clear if Hameed will appeal his sentence the fact that it was delivered through a video call service has caused outrage.

On the issue, Human Rights Watch said:

The irreversible punishment is archaic, inherently cruel and inhuman, it should be abolished.

Hameed is currently incarcerated in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, where he stood trial, while judge Dada was in Lagos High Court in Ikeja, with others elsewhere.

According to BBC News, the death sentence isn't common in Nigeria and even when they are handed out they the decision still has to be approved by state governors.

That being said, three executions were conducted in 2016 and there are more than 2,000 in the country on death row.

The decision handed to Hameed on the first day that lockdown measures had been eased in Nigeria, which has recorded more than 3,000 cases of coronavirus and 103 deaths.

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