Police frees Maryam Aiwasu after protests from Amnesty International, Nigerians

Police frees Maryam Aiwasu after protests from Amnesty International, Nigerians

- Maryam Aiwasu, one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement who was arrested on Tuesday, February 19 has been released

- Awaisu was arrested in her office in Kaduna by a convoy of officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

- She has been on the forefront of pursuing justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria

Maryam Aiwasu, one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement who was arrested on Tuesday, February 19 in her office in Kaduna by a convoy of officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has been released.

Awaisu's arrest had sparked outrage across Nigerian Twitter, especially in the northern region.

Awaisu has been on the forefront of pursuing justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria, a topic rarely discussed in the conservative northern region.

Her arrest also got the attention of Amnesty International, who say the activist was arrested without warrant.

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Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International had in a statement said: “Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Maryam Aiwasu who has done nothing more than speaking up for women’s rights.

“Her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass both her and other women supporting #ArewaMeToo - a movement seeking justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria.

“While arresting Maryam, the police attempted to gain access to her laptop and mobile phone by force; this is clearly an effort to access the sensitive evidence she and other human rights defenders have been gathering to seek justice for victims of sexual violence.

“Maryam and the other brave human rights defenders working with the #ArewaMeToo movement must not be silenced or punished for the vital work they do.

“For too long, Nigeria’s women have been facing various kinds of sexual violence that seldom receives proper attention from the country’s law enforcement agencies.

“It is unacceptable that women working on behalf of these victims are subjected to such arrest and intimidation, and we fear that these actions may prevent victims of sexual violence from pursuing justice.”

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The #ArewaMeToo trend on Twitter, since its commencement, has witnessed chilling and stories never told before of sexual harassment, rape, defilement of minors and other related cases across the north.

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