Islamic Human Right Commission (IHRC) has strongly condemns the arraignment of Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife by the state High Court in Kaduna.
In a statement signed by the Commission’s Boss Massoud Shadjareh, the Commission said the move is just the latest in a long line of blows inflicted on the sheikh designed to cripple the Islamic Movement of Nigeria which he leads.
According to the statement, the hearing came after the pair were forcibly moved overnight from the capital Abuja where they have been detained Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky illegally without charge for over two years by Nigeria’s security services.
“Nigerian authorities seem determined to force Sheikh Zakzaky to stand trial on charges recently levelled against him” the statement explained.
“The sheikh had said he would not willingly attend the court to hear the charges, the most serious of which is punishable by death. The authorities allege that the sheikh and supporters of his group abetted the commission of culpable homicide when they blocked roads in the city of Zaria in December 2015” Massoud Shadjareh explained.
Explaining further, the statement said In reality the charges seem to be designed to deflect government responsibility for a planned and systematic attack by soldiers on the Islamic Movement that left at least 1000 civilians dead in December 2015, an attack which is now the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court.
“The arraignment seems all the more ridiculous for the fact that the higher federal court had previously ruled the pair’s detention to be unlawful and unconstitutional and ordered the government to release them by January 16, 2017 and pay compensation.
The continued persecution of Sheikh Zakzaky should also be seen in the context of his worsening health. Nigerian authorities are all too aware of the precarious condition of the sheikh, who lost sight in one eye and the use of one arm in the 2015 massacre and also suffered a stroke at the turn of the year” Massoud Shadjareh concludes.