WOMEN AND CHILDREN DETAINED FOR INSULTING NIGERIAN PRESIDENT

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Zeenah Ibrahim, wife of imprisoned Muslim leader Mu'allim Al-Zakzaky, and six of her children aged between 17 months and 11 years of age, charged with inciting hatred of Nigerian government and insulting President of the military junta

 

PRESS RELEASE

27.4.98

ref: NIGERIA

WOMEN AND CHILDREN DETAINED FOR INSULTING NIGERIAN PRESIDENT

Zeenah Ibrahim, wife of imprisoned Muslim leader Mu'allim Al-Zakzaky, and six of her children aged between 17 months and 11 years of age, have been charged with inciting hatred of the Nigerian government, and insulting President of the military junta, General Sani Abacha, and other public figures.

In total nine women and sixteen children, arrested on Friday 17th April, have been charged. They are currently detained in appalling conditions. They are denied food and water unless they pay warders. Islamic Human Rights Commission has received a distressing letter from Zeenah Ibrahim outlining their plight. IHRC is calling on the Nigerian government to release all those women and children arrested.

Also arrested were two nieces of Al-Zakzaky aged 16 and 26, as well as the wife and children of Hamid Danlami, one of Al-Zakzaky's co-defendants. Danlami, Al-Zakzaky, Abubakr, Adullahi and Muhammad Shittu, known as the Zaria Four are currently being tried for inciting public disaffection. At the latest hearing in March, a key prosecution witness, the arresting officer, stated that the four were innocent of the charges against them. The trial is due to resume on May 6. The Nigerian authorities have to date evicted the families of the Zaria Four and other Muslim and demolished their homes. There have also been reports of police rapes of women associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic opposition movement which Al-Zakzaky heads, as well as violent attacks. In November 1996, Muhammad Al-Zakzaky then only 10, was brutally beaten by police. He is now outside Nigeria. His siblings, Nusaibah 11 years old, Ahmad (7), Hamid (6), Suhailah (4) Mahmoud (3) and Emad aged only 16 months, now face a similar fate to their father. Prolonged detentions without charge, and disruption or even denial of due process are common.

Confirmed names and identities of others charged and detained are Halimatu Abdulqadir and Muslimah Abdulqadir aged 26 and 16. Another woman arrested was in fact a home help of the Zakzaky's. The family of Hamid Danlami arrested are Maryam Muhammad (wife), Zainab Hamid (daughter, 16), Mustapha (son, 12), Ahmad Hamid (son, about 6).

IHRC is calling for the release of all political prisoners, whatever their political, confessional or racial background.

For more information please call the Press Office on (+44)181 931 1919, fax (+44) 181 931 1920 or mobile (+44)958 522 196.

e-mail: ihrc@dial.pipex.com