Amnesty International is calling for the release of one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement, Maryam Aiwasu, who is pursuing justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria.
Few days ago, women in the north started sharing their sexual abuse stories while calling out their abusers through the hashtag #ArewaMeToo.
Shockingly, Maryam, who is championing this cause, was arrested on Tuesday, the 19th of February, in her office in Kaduna by a convoy of officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Responding to the arrest, the Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho said that she must be released immediately as her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass her and other women supporting #ArewaMeToo
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.
“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Maryam Aiwasu @Ice131Queen who has done nothing more than speaking up for women’s rights. #FreeMaryamAwaisu #ArewaMeToo @PoliceNG @unwomenafrica @aishambuhari #Nigeria pic.twitter.com/Ph8s9WWm4w
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) February 19, 2019
Now check these out: