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Islamic Human Rights Commission condemns FG’s sudden trial of Zakzaky *Says charges a mockery of judicial process

By News Express on 26/04/2018

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• Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky
• Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky


A group, Islamic Human Rights Commission has condemned the volte-face by the Nigerian authorities to charge the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky to court after illegally holding him in detention for two years, describing it as yet another slap in the face of due process in the country.

A statement by the group on Wednesday said that along with his wife and two others, the Sheikh has been charged with eight offences, the most serious of which is punishable by death.

“The authorities claim that the Sheikh and supporters of his group abetted the Commission of culpable homicide when they allegedly blocked roads in the city of Zaria in December 2015.

“In reality, though, the charge aims to deflect government responsibility for a planned and systematic attack by soldiers on the Islamic Movement that left at least 1000 civilians dead and hundreds more arrested. The government attack is the subject of a complaint by the IHRC to the International Criminal Court in the Hague,” the statement read.

“The charges are more visible when viewed against the context of legal proceedings to end the illegal detention of the Zakzakys. The pair remain in the custody of the Nigerian secret services in defiance of a federal court order on 2 December 2016 ordering their release by January 16, 2017. The federal court had ruled the detentions unconstitutional and illegal.

“The leveling of charges should also be seen as an attempt by the government to curb continuing protests in the capital Abuja calling for justice for the Sheikh. Sunday 15 April 2018 marked 100 days since protests broke out all over Nigeria demanding Sheikh Zakzaky’s release. The protests erupted after Sheikh Zakzaky suffered a stroke, aggravating an already poor condition caused when he was shot during the 2015 military assault.”

The statement noted that despite calls by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and other supporters of the Sheikh for his release him from unlawful detention so that his health can be assessed and he can receive medical treatment the Nigerian authorities have failed to act.

“Demonstrations involving tens of thousands of the sheikh’s supporters have been staged daily in Abuja as well as other towns and cities across northern Nigeria. Despite their peaceful nature,  the protests have been subjected to sabotage and violence. Often fatal, attacks by security forces intend on bringing the Islamic Movement of Nigeria into disrepute.

“Since 8 January 2018, six protesters have been killed by security forces. Hundreds more have been arrested and sustained injuries from beatings during their detention. The majority of those released were released without charge,” the statement added.

IHRC Chairman, Massoud Shadjareh said: “These charges make a mockery of a legal process that had already been bought into considerable disrepute by the Nigerian executive. They are nothing but a contemptible attempt to deflect responsibility away from the government for the 2015 massacre and to seek an end to the daily protests in support of Sheikh Zakzaky. The international community must act now to ensure that Nigeria abides by its commitments to human rights, especially those relating to upholding the rule of law.”

Source News Express

Posted 26/04/2018 03:55:36 AM


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