Lebanese Hezbollah suspects to sue Nigerian government

ABUJA Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:01pm EDT

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ABUJA (Reuters) - Four Lebanese men suspected of having links to Islamist militant group Hezbollah are seeking 1 billion naira ($6.2 million) in compensation from the Nigerian government for unlawful incarceration, their lawyer said on Thursday.

Secret service agents arrested the suspects in northern Nigeria between May 16 and May 28, and a military official told Reuters all had said they were members of the Lebanon-based Shi'ite Muslim organization.

The four - Mustapha Fawaz, Abdullah Tahini, Talal Roda and Hussain Nurudeen Kossdi - appeared in an Abuja court on Thursday on charges of terrorism and possession of illegal arms.

"We are asking the court for one billion naira in damages for unlawful incarceration," defense lawyer Robert Clarke told journalists after the four men attended a court session where charges were read to them.

"The liberty of the individual as guaranteed under the constitution, we are asking this court to enforce it by releasing them on bail or try them through due processes of court," he said.

The case against the men was adjourned until June 21.

A raid on one of the mens' residences in the main northern city of Kano uncovered a stash of anti-tank weapons, landmines, heavy artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles, authorities said.

The military said last month that the weapons were to be used in attacks on American and Israeli targets.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Tim Cocks and Mike Collett-White)

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