US Department of State Human Rights Report: Nigeria 2012

"The constitution provides for public trials in the regular court system and individual rights in criminal and civil cases. The constitution does not provide for juries or the right to access government-held evidence. However, the criminal procedure act provides for this access, and the defendant can apply to access government-held evidence either directly or through a lawyer. Defendants enjoy the right to presumption of innocence, to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges (with free interpretation as necessary), to a fair and public trial without undue delay, to communicate with an attorney of choice (or to have one provided at public expense), to adequate time and facilities to prepare defense, to confront witnesses against them and present witnesses and evidence, not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt, and to appeal. Authorities did not always respect these rights. Although an accused person is entitled to counsel of his choice, no law prevents a trial from going forward without counsel, except for certain offenses for which the penalty is death. The Legal Aid Act provides for the appointment of counsel in such cases and stipulates that a trial should not go forward without it. Defendants were held in prison awaiting trial for well beyond the term allowed in the constitution (see section 1.c.). Human rights groups alleged terror suspects detained by the military were denied their right to access to legal representation, due process, or the opportunity to be heard by a judicial authority."

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