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Nigerian journalist facing terror charges granted bail

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A Nigerian journalist facing terrorism, economic sabotage and fraud charges has been granted conditional bail, court officials said Tuesday – but has to stay in jail until he meets the conditions.

Judge Ijeoma Ojukwu granted a defence request for bail to Jones Abiri, editor and publisher of the Weekly Source newspaper, in a hearing Monday.

She set the date for the start of the trial on Friday.

Abiri denies charges of sending text messages to oil companies threatening to blow up their facilities. He says he has been targeted for his coverage of the neglect of his native Niger Delta by oil companies and the government.

Judge Ojukwu ordered Abiri to pay 100 million naira (282,000 dollars) and also to provide a guarantor who would have to be a land owner, a common proviso in Nigerian courts. Until then, he has to remain in custody, the judge added.

Abiri was previously detained by intelligence officers for two years without trial over alleged links to armed rebel groups in the Niger Delta region.

He was freed last August following a campaign by rights organisations.

-AFP

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