Story highlights

  • Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa have been held since March 24
  • Both have been denied contact with the outside world
  • The pair were covering military operations against Boko Haram
  • Network hopes legal action will secure their release

Court action has been taken to declare the Nigerian military’s detention of two Al Jazeera journalists as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

A statement released by the network on Thursday said the legal procedures taken on behalf of Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa were aimed at securing their’ “fundamental rights to personal liberty and human dignity” under the Nigerian constitution.

The Doha-based network called for an immediate end to their detention, which began on March 24 in Maiduguri while the pair were covering the Nigerian military's operations against Boko Haram.

The journalists have had their phones confiscated by authorities and have not been allowed to contact the outside world.

Al Jazeera said Idris and Mustafa were being held for "no apparent reason".

Salah Negm, director of news for Al Jazeera English, said he hoped the legal move will speed up their release.

"We want the military to bring this situation to a close, and call on all parties involved in this capture of our journalists to end this now," he said.

"Nobody appears to be taking responsibility for this grave action, and we hope this legal action will help to cut through the haze," Negm added.

The detention has been condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the National Press Club, and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of organisations working in support of credible and transparent elections.

Idris, who has more than 30 years of broadcasting experience, joined Al Jazeera in 2010.

Mustafa has been a cameraman with Al Jazeera since 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera