NIGERIAN JUNTA TRY ZARIA FOUR

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International Community does nothing as opposition leader and colleagues are tried for expressing opinion.
Islamic Human Rights Commission

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate Release
19.8.97

NIGERIAN JUNTA TRY ZARIA FOUR
International Community does nothing as opposition leader and colleagues are tried for expressing opinion.

Once more, the infamous military tribunal system in Nigeria has been set in motion. The trial begins today of Mu'allim Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, the renowned opposition leader and three colleagues. The various charges relate to the publication of a statement by Al-Zakzaky, saying that 'there is no sovereignty save God's.'

The four were charged at the beginning of the month after being held incommunicado for nearly a year. The charges were originally intended to be 'culpable homicide' for the deaths of two police officers killed at an opposition protest the day after the four were imprisoned. Fourteen civilians, including a three year old boy, were shot dead by police on that occasion, last September.

Since then, over 50 supporters of Al-Zakzaky have been killed, and 1000 imprisoned either without charge or fair trial.

IHRC is calling on the Nigerian government to stop this charade and release all prisoners of conscience, including the four. It is also calling on the international community to bring pressure to bear on the junta in this case.

To date little has been done to secure the unconditional release of the four. It appears that the lessons of the Ken Sara Wiwo 'trial' have not been learnt. IHRC hopes the international community will act to stop a similar fate befalling the Zaria Four.

For more information, please call the Press Officer on 0181 931 1919 or call 0958 60 74 75 / 0958 522 196, e-mail: ihrc@dial.pipex.com
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