Death sentence for Nigerian cleric

A court in Nigeria has sentenced to death the leader of an unorthodox and militant Islamic sect, state-run Radio Nigeria Kaduna has reported.

    The sentence was passed by a judge in northeastern Adamawa

    Musa Ali Suleiman, 51, was on Tuesday sentenced to death by hanging after he was found guilty of three charges of murder, conspiracy and incitement of public disturbance, said the radio report.
      
    The chief judge in northeastern Adamawa state ordered that Suleiman be hanged to death on the first charge of murder. He also sentenced him to 21 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane, and fined him 100,000 naira [$770] for incitement.
      
    He also got a six-month-jail term for criminal conspiracy, the radio said.
     
    Suleiman had in 1984 led followers of his heretic Maitatsine Islamic sect in a bloody intra-religious violence in the Adamawa state capital Yola which led to the deaths of 2,000 people and large-scale destruction of property.
      
    The group believes only in the Koran and are opposed to modernity. They brand other Muslims as infidels who must be converted through violence.
      
    Suleiman managed to escape and was on the run untill 2004 when he was arrested in Abuja and brought to Yola to face justice.
      
    Spying charges

    Another Nigerian court has meanwhile remanded six people, three of them foreigners, in custody pending a hearing on spying charges brought against them by the government, court officials said on Wednesday.
       
    Court papers obtained by Reuters said three Nigerian defence ministry staff colluded with Irishman James Nolan, Romanian Bogdam Dumistrescu and Israeli Eliav Hommossany to illegally obtain classified security documents, which they intended to pass to the Russian embassy in Nigeria.
       
    When the case came up at a federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday, the six pleaded not guilty to a 12-count charge and judge Binta Murtala Nyako ordered them to be remanded in custody till November 21 when they begin their defence, officials said.
      
    The offence was said to have been committed between January 2004 and June 2006. If convicted, the accused could face up to 14 years in prison.
       
    Two other foreigners - Russian Nikolai Salnikov and Michael Quinn from Ireland - also charged with unlawfully obtaining and transmitting "documents related to a protected place" were still at large, the court papers said.
       
    Officials at the Russian embassy were not immediately available for comment.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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