***Suspects plead not guilty

Two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci were arraigned in court on Monday over the lynching of a 200-Level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, by the police
For alleged blasphemy.
A mob lynched the student, Deborah Samuel.
For their alleged participation in the crime, the suspects, who are the co-students of the deceased, were docked at a Sokoto Chief Magistrate’s Court .
They pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Prosecuting Insp Khalil Musa told the court that investigation was in progress as Deborah’s corpse was still in a morgue at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.

Leading a team of 34 lawyers, the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

The trial judge (name withheld for security reasons) reserved ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.

Before she was lynched, Deborah was accused of denigrating Islam on a WhatsApp chat platform set up by her coursemates and refused to retract her post after she was asked to pull it down.

A violent street protest followed the arrest of suspects linked to the lynching of Deborah as the protesters demanded their immediate release by security operatives.

Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal consequently imposed a 24-hour curfew on Sokoto metropolis on Saturday. He relaxed the curfew on Monday to be observed from dusk to dawn.

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