Marchers rally for release of journalist from New Jersey detained in Nigeria

HAWORTH, New Jersey (WABC) -- Dozens of people marched in Newark Tuesday and called for justice for a journalist from New Jersey being illegally detained in Nigeria.

The rally marked 116 days since Omoyele (Yele) Sowore of Haworth was arrested by the Nigerian government.

Friends, family, and members of his community gathered for a "Yele Ribbon" ceremony to tie 116 ribbons and raise awareness of the case.

They called on Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey to support efforts to bring Sowore home safely for the holidays.

Sowore's trial is expected to continue next week on charges including treason, felony and cyberstalking Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military leader who has taken over the government.

Sowore, 48, is the founder of a pro-democracy publication, Sahara Reporters, that uncovers corruption and misconduct in his native Nigeria.

He was back in his African homeland to meet with his colleagues but was taken into custody for speaking up against the government in August.

"This Thanksgiving he will not be here with me or with the kids, but we continue to hope and pray that he comes home safely to us," said his wife Opeyemi Oluwole.

She and their children were hoping he would be home by now since he has been granted bail twice, but he was never released.

The journalist's imprisonment has been a rallying cry for the residents of Haworth, where he lives with his family. And that support was on display in Newark.

"We have seen our community come together, our family come together, free press organizations come together to voice concern for what is happening to him," said Oluwole.

The Clooney Foundation has joined the calls for his release and Amnesty International has declared Sowore a prisoner of conscience.

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