Nigeria Asks Court to Allow It to Monitor Abdulmutallab Proceedings

The Government of Nigeria this week filed this unusual pleading seeking to enter an appearance in the criminal case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab , the alleged "underpants bomber" and asked that it be provided copies of all filings and allowed to be present at hearings and trial.

The pleading states the request is made to insure the integrity of Nigeria is preserved during the proceedings. And,

To ensure that the Defendant who is a citizen of Nigeria is accorded a fair trial, due process of law , effective assistance of counsel and that his trial is in accordance with acceptable international standards without compromising the official position of the government of Nigeria on the nature of crime committed by the defendant which is a total denunciation of the alleged acts committed by the Defendant.

The request was denied. The next status conference is September 13. No trial date has been set.

Sounds to me like this was a public relations move since they can get the non-sealed pleadings off of PACER and court hearings are open to the public. But I hope someone in the Netherlands or Aruba picks up on it and files a similar request for Joran in Peru.

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    by The Maven on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 09:14:51 PM EST
    which is a practice I believe is not entirely uncommon in British Commonwealth nations (such as Nigeria), whereas the concept of a non-party's formal appearance at a criminal proceeding in the U.S. seems much more foreign to us, as it were.

    As a side note, I find it somewhat intrguing that the attorney making the application here on behalf of the Nigerian Government was involved several years ago in civil litigation in which he represented the estate of M.K.O. Abiola, the winner of the nullified 1993 presidential election in Nigeria (and who died after five years in detention without trial), against Gen. Abubakar, who succeeded Sani Abacha as the ruler of Nigeria prior to its transition back to democracy in 1998-99.  The suit (02 Civ. 6093, N.D. Ill.) asserted various crimes in violation of customary international law and settled shortly before trial in early 2008.  One would think Mr. Oladele has some very strong and longstanding ties with various groups in the Nigerian political system.