West African court restrains Nigerian executions

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Associated Press

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 11:04 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's justice minister says the government will respect a West African court ruling ordering the country to stop carrying out executions.

There are more than 1,000 prisoners on death row in Nigeria. Edo state last year broke a seven-year moratorium by hanging four convicted murderers. The executions came after President Goodluck Jonathan told governors to sign death warrants.

Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke says Nigeria will abide by a recent injunction from the court of the Economic Community of West African States and by its commitment to a moratorium on executions while it continues a national dialogue on whether to abolish or retain the death penalty.

He spoke at a meeting Thursday with U.N. human rights commissioner Navi Pillay. Adoke said the sensitive issue is complicated by Nigeria's federal nature.

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