Shiites lament 700 days of Zakzaky’s detention, demand immediate release

Posted by News Express | 14 November 2017 | 1,145 times

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•Detained Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakaky

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites has renewed call for the immediate release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakaky, as he marks 700 days in detention.

Ibrahim Musa, President of the Media Forum of the Movement, in a statement last Sunday, lamented the detention of Zakzaky, his wife, Zeenah, and several hundreds of other members of the Islamic Movement in various detention centres by the Federal Government.

Musa alleged that the detention was sequel to what he described as the cruel attack by the Federal Government, using its military might in an attempt to exterminate the Movement, its leadership, membership and properties.

Musa also declared: “As we are all aware, since that murderous weekend of December 12, 2015, we are still looking for justice on the matter.

“What happened between December 12 and 14, 2015 and subsequently has largely been deliberately kept hidden by the perpetrators. Amnesty International (AI) in its report called it ‘Unearthing the Truth: Unlawful killings and mass cover-up in Zaria.’ The report, which was a product of extensive field investigation by independent investigators, has since been irritating the Nigerian government, who are hell-bent on covering what actually happened that cost the lives of over a thousand innocent citizens, using all instruments of state powers.”

The President of the Forum also accused the Federal Government of having tried unsuccessfully to stamp the cover up using its Presidential Investigation Panel, headed by Justice Biobele A. Georgewill, which it said was purportedly established to probe human rights abuses of the military.

He stated further that when it mattered most, the panel clearly demonstrated its lack of credibility and independence, when it took weeks before the panel was allowed to entertain the memo of the most victimised petitioner, who suffered what could best be described as state-sanctioned genocide.

“Even at that, the panel did not have the liver to take testimony in public, as it tried to hide evidence from public glare and scrutiny. The government of (President Muhammadu) Buhari was not prepared to face the truth. It is only now that it is becoming clear to people that right from the outset; the intent was to destroy in whole the Islamic Movement. That was clearly demonstrated by the military personnel that repeatedly chanted ‘No more Shi’ah’ and other anti-IMN slogans as they massacred women, children and all others in Zaria.”

The IMN accused the government of destroying its properties including schools and religious centres as well as desecrating grave yards where its members were buried. The Movement also claimed the killing of over a thousand of its members and burning people alive as well as corpses of those they killed.

“Who would quantify the serious bodily or mental harm the unprecedented Zaria massacre and the persistent follow through had caused to members of the Islamic Movement and their relations? Those who had escaped with their lives faced other shades of brutality till this day. Hundreds were arbitrarily arrested and are detained, some being wrongly accused with framed up charges. It is only now that the courts have been vindicating us, discharging and acquitting the wrongfully accused and detained. Many are still being kept in secret confinement without charges or trials. Many were denied appropriate medical attention and died in custody. Pregnant women had premature deliveries while in custody and some others suffered miscarriages. The hallmark of the mental torture was the secret burial of those they killed in mass graves without letting their relations give them a befitting burial. In fact, their relatives have not been informed of the extrajudicial execution of their loved ones,” Musa said.

He also hinted that Shaikh Zakzaky’s health condition has continued to deteriorate in detention, “a condition calculated to bring about his physical destruction. Even as the courts had passed judgement calling for the release of the Sheikh and compensation for illegal detention, the government is still holding him in contempt to that judgement almost a year after. For the past 700 days of their incarceration, Sheikh Zakzaky was allowed access to his lawyers only twice.

“For the past 700 days, we have been denied our rights to our faith in Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto as well as some few other states. We have been denied the right to freely associate, assemble or peacefully protest.

“As of today, the government of Buhari has not arrested a single person for these serious crimes. It has shown obvious unwillingness to appropriately prosecute the perpetrators of this genocide. It only seeks to further protect them and even further perpetrate more crimes. We are prepared to take all necessary legal ways to seek redress. In the international scene, we shall proceed to urge the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague to indict President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors Nasiru El-Rufai and Umaru Ganduje, General Yusuf Buratai and all others who meticulously planned and executed the Zaria genocide and are actively perpetuating it.”

The Islamic Movement expressed appreciation to all persons and groups who have stood by it in the past 700 days, stating that “the road was long, rough and tortuous, but at every turn you were all there with us. The work ahead remains arduous. We will, however, not relent in stepping up our peaceful protests for the release of our leader and all those being held. We are not cowed by their terror tactics against us.



Source: News Express

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