Over 1,000 suspected Boko Haram terrorists will appear before judges in Nigeria today, as the largest mass terror trial in the country commences.
The accused, some of whom have been held for years, are expected to be arraigned before the civilian courts at a military facility in central Nigeria’s town of Kainji.
The decision to hold the cases in public comes after human rights groups, including Amnesty International, criticized secret hearings during the first phase of the trials last October.
On that occasion, 45 people were sentenced to between three and 31 years in prison.
More than 400 other Boko Haram suspects were discharged for lack of evidence.
The trials were halted for four months to enable the authorities finish investigations on the Boko Haram suspects, according to Nigeria’s Justice Ministry.
Thousands of other suspected militants being detained in other facilities across the country are also expected to be tried later.
More than 20,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in Nigeria and other countries in the Lake Chad region since Boko Haram started its insurgency in 2009.